KR Tribunal Judges Offer Reasons for Separation of Detainees

As a married couple, Khmer Rouge tribunal detainees Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith may meet once a day, but the three other detainees at the court do not have the right to communicate with each other, co-investigating judges ruled Tuesday.

In a decision made public Wed­nesday, the co-investigating judges said they were responding to re­quests from Ieng Thirith and Brother Number Two Nuon Chea to allow contact between detainees.

The court’s detainees are suspected of together engaging in complex crimes during the Khmer Rouge era, meaning they must be kept from one another to prevent their collusion during the investigation, judges You Bunleng and Marcel Lemonde wrote.

The detainees may receive visitors and communicate with the outside world by mail but not with each other, the decision stated.

It added that the marriage be­tween former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, 82, and former Social Ac­tion Minister Ieng Thirith, 76, calls for some exception.

“The fact that they are married is considered a sufficiently weighty factor to tip the balance between the competing interests at issue in favor of a degree controlled contact,” the judges wrote.

The judges had previously ruled that the couple should also be separated but were overruled April 30 by the tribunal’s Pre-Trial Chamber.

Ang Udom, Cambodian attorney for Ieng Sary, said Wednesday he was unsure whether the defense would appeal the decision.

“It is not enough. They want to meet freely, unconditionally,” he said of his client and Ieng Thirith.

Son Arun, part of a three-man team defending Nuon Chea, said he was unsure whether he would appeal Tuesday’s decision.

“Right now I have no hope they’ll allow them to communicate, be­cause there is still the investigation,” he said. “They work by their way, and right now we try to convince them of something in our client’s interest.”

Also, in a statement made public Wednesday, retired King Norodom Sihanouk said he had granted a 1996 pardon to Ieng Sary at others’ urging.

Lawyers for Ieng Sary are now arguing that the pardon prohibits his trial at the tribunal.

“It was not I who proposed or thought of this amnesty, but it was the Co-Prime Ministers Samdech Hun Sen and Samdech Norodom Ranariddh who took the initiative,” wrote Norodom Sihanouk.

“The King reigns but does not govern.”

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