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Hospitalized ex-Khmer Rouge military chief demands quick trial

[JURIST] Ta Mok [Trial Watch profile], the former military chief of the Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] communist movement in Cambodia who was indicted [PDF text] on crimes against humanity charges in 1999 and has been in detention [order, PDF] since 2002, demanded a swift trial Friday. An unexpected hospitalization has renewed fears that he will not live through the end of his trial before Cambodia's Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal [official task force website; timeline]. Ta Mok was hospitalized Thursday [JURIST report] for several illnesses after his health began to deteriorate in jail last week. He wants his trial to begin soon so he can tell the court who was really responsible for the massacre of 1.7 million people during the Khmer Rouge 1975-78 rule over Cambodia. The tribunal is expected to begin holding trials next year [JURIST report].

The deteriorating health of several potential defendants has prompted the UN to call for their trials to begin as soon as possible [JURIST report]. Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary [Wikipedia profile] was hospitalized due to a heart condition [JURIST report] earlier this year. While judges and prosecutors for the UN-assisted court were recently selected [JURIST report], the tribunal has yet to secure all of its $56.3 million budget [JURIST report]. The tribunal will swear in the 30 selected judges on Monday, and prosecutors will begin to assemble the cases starting next week. Reuters has more.

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