Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan Teams File Appeals

The defense teams for former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan filed appeals Monday against the life sentences handed down to them in August by judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, who found the pair guilty of crimes against humanity.

Nuon Chea’s team put forward 223 grounds of appeal, while Khieu Samphan’s team listed 148 grounds. Prosecutors at the court also filed a limited appeal asking for judges to explain their decision to exclude certain forms of joint criminal enterprise from consideration.

The 30-page document filed by Nuon Chea’s team, led by lawyers Son Arun and Victor Koppe, cites impartiality, factual inaccuracies and a failure to call vital witnesses to give evidence.

“The judgment not only fails to respect Nuon Chea’s fundamental right to a fair trial, it calls into question the legitimacy of an institution clearly less concerned with ascertaining truth than with writing the final chapter of a propaganda campaign on behalf of Nuon Chea’s political opponents,” the appeal says.

The appeal claims that national judges failed to remain impartial due to their inability to set aside personal experiences under the Khmer Rouge. The failure of the court to call National Assembly President Heng Samrin to testify is cited as another flaw in the trial.

“The Trial Chamber…violated Nuon Chea’s right to present a defense by failing to call the most important fact witness in Case 002, and Nuon Chea’s sole character witness, Heng Samrin,” it says.

The fifth section of the appeal focuses on the trial chamber’s refusal to acknowledge the autonomy of lower-level officials, saying the judges failed “to recognize the fractious nature of the Party and the independent authority of officials in the national administrative structure, including zone leaders.”

Hearings in the second phase of Case 002 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are due to begin on October 17.

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