[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea [GenocideWatch report] on Wednesday asked the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] to release him on bail. Nuon Chea's family earlier this week expressed concern over his health and urged the tribunal to release him [AFP report] into their custody. He is currently being held at a tribunal detention center awaiting trial for charges [statement, PDF] of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Nuon Chea was known as Brother Number Two in the Khmer Rouge, indicative of his high position in the communist movement led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998 having never been prosecuted for alleged war crimes. The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979. The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2005, PDF] to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials, but to date, no top officials have faced trials. The first trials are expected in 2008. AFP has more.