KR Tribunal Rules Defendants Fit to Stand Trial

Medical examinations of Khmer Rouge tribunal defendants Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea last month show that the pair are fit to stand trial in the second phase of proceedings against them, Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn ruled on Friday.

The defense teams for Nuon Chea, 87, and Khieu Samphan, 82, have both cited inabilities of their clients to maintain concentration over the duration of trial sessions. Judge Nonn in February ordered the examinations be carried out before hearings for Case 002/02 are scheduled.

In two separate rulings on Friday, Judge Nonn said health checks carried out by a team of doctors—forensic psychiatrist Dr. Seena Fazel, geriatrician Dr. Chan Kin Ming and psychiatrist Dr. Huot Lina—showed the pair are physically and mentally capable of standing trial in Case 002/02.

“The Experts examined the Accused Khieu Samphan over two days on 24 and 25 March 2014 and reviewed the weekly medical reports prepared by physicians at the ECCC detention facility,” according to the text of the ruling into Khieu Samphan’s fitness to stand trial.

“They concluded that he was in good health, despite his existing medical conditions,” it continues.

“They concluded that the accused Khieu Samphan was not suffering from any mental illness, and found no evidence of cognitive impairment beyond what would be expected for a person of his age and background.”

Lars Olsen, the tribunal’s legal communications officer, said a similar ruling was handed down on Nuon Chea’s fitness.

“Very basically, it says that they are deemed fit to stand trial but there are no details about their conditions,” Mr. Olsen said.

The ruling into Khieu Samphan’s health also says that despite the two decisions, the defendants’ requests for shorter sitting sessions will still be considered.

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