The Trial Chamber at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday asked defense teams to report on the fitness of their clients to stand trial in the second phase of the court’s present case by January 15, and asked all parties to suggest what the scope of the next mini-trial should be by January 31.
The dates are part of a broad work plan the chamber released Tuesday for the second phase of Case 002, in which senior Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan stand accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It followed the chamber’s decision last week not to establish a second panel for the next mini-trial in order to prosecute the aging and ailing defendants as quickly as possible.
While not setting a date for the start of substantive hearings in Case 002/02, the work plan establishes a time frame for deciding on exactly what crimes the complex trial should cover.
The steps in the new work plan, Trial Chamber President Judge Nil Nonn says in the memo, “take into account these issues, all of which must be assessed before the chamber can determine the date for the commencement of the evidentiary hearings.”
After the two defense teams and the prosecution file submissions on the scope of the trial by the end of January, the work plan calls for a day of oral arguments on their suggestions on February 11.
The Trial Chamber is currently deliberating on a verdict in Case 002’s first mini-trial against the two defendants and expects to issue a judgment during the first quarter of next year.
Khieu Samphan’s defense team has asked the court to delay the start of the second mini-trial until the first is fully adjudicated, including any appeals. Along with the scope of the second trial, his team will get to make its case for a delay before the Trial Chamber on February 11.