Ex-Khmer Rouge minister denied pre-trial release

Ex-Khmer Rouge minister denied pre-trial release

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[JURIST] A panel in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Monday denied [judgment, PDF] a motion for pretrial release by former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder] official Ieng Sary [ECCC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Ieng, 85, served as deputy foreign minister under the Khmer Rouge regime during its reign in Cambodia from 1975-1979. Citing Rules 63(6-7) and 68(1) of the Internal Rules of the ECCC [text, PDF] and Article 210 of the Cambodian Code of Criminal Procedure [text, PDF, in French], he argued that the court had no authority to detain a prisoner for more than three years without certain substantive rulings, making his detention illegal since November 2010. Taking a different interpretation of the statutes and emphasizing the need to prevent the defendant from fleeing, the court denied Ieng’s request:

[The Chamber has been] provided with limited practical particulars in support of the Defence request for bail. … At the hearing, the Defence merely expressed the hope that either the Royal Government of Cambodia or the ECCC would be in a position to provide security, transportation and medical care for the Accused if he were detained outside the ECCC Detention Facility. It has not provided … any guarantee that the Accused would respect summons to appear in court. The Chamber therefore finds continued detention at the ECCC to be necessary to ensure the presence of the Accused during trial proceedings[.]

Ieng faces charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in connection with the deaths of more than 2 million Cambodians in the Khmer Rouge “Killing Fields.”

Ieng’s co-defendants in ECCC Case 2 [materials], Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith [ECCC backgrounders] have all challenged pretrial custody unsuccessfully. In March, Kaing Guek Eav [ECCC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], a former prison chief at the notorious Toul Sleng prison under the Khmer Rouge, better known as “Duch,” appealed [JURIST report] a 35-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity handed down by the ECCC [JURIST report] last July. The conviction was the court’s first since its founding in 2006.