The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Supreme Court Chamber (SCC) has rejected an appeal by war crimes defendant Khieu Samphan that he be released on bail, but noted the possibility that he could be held under judicial supervision should hearings in Case 002 be delayed.
The judges’ decision, which was released publicly on Friday, was made in response to an appeal Khieu Samphan filed after an application for bail was rejected by the Trial Chamber in April.
Khieu Samphan had argued that he was not a flight risk and would come to court by motorbike, and that his time in detention had been excessive.
In its ruling, the SCC said that “the imminent threat of further proceedings elevates the risk of absconding,” and that the charges against him in the second “mini-trial” in Case 002 be delayed.
However, it is still unclear if the second “mini-trial” will get underway once a verdict is issued in the first. Closing briefs in Case 002/01 are due on September 19 and closing statements are set to start on October 16.
Despite a ruling made in July to start the second case, the court continues to be plagued with funding woes.
“The need to ensure Khieu Samphan’s presence at trial may therefore diminish, if not extinguish, should there be no court activity, such as during the drafting of the judgment in Case 002/01 and this, coupled with an unjustified delay in the commencement of proceedings in Case 002/02, could constitute grounds for replacing detention with less stringent measures such as judicial supervision,” the SCC said in its decision.
“At the present time, however, the Supreme Court Chamber considers that Khieu Samphan’s immediate release on bail is not warranted,” it added.
The SCC also said it lacked confidence in claims that Khieu Samphan would comply with summonses to appear in court, particularly given his recent refusal to answer questions because of a lack of faith in the proceedings.