Prosecutors urge ECCC to seize passport of former Khmer Rouge leader

Prosecutors urge ECCC to seize passport of former Khmer Rouge leader

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[JURIST] Prosecutors in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Friday urged the tribunal to seize the passport [press release, PDF] of former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Thirith [BBC backgrounders] whose release was ordered after she was declared mentally unfit to stand trial. The ECCC ruled [JURIST report] on Thursday that Ieng Thirith is suffering from a mentally debilitating illness, likely Alzheimer’s disease, and is thus not mentally competent to face trial. The prosecutors stated that while they agree with the ECCC’s decision to release Ieng Thirith, the court should impose restrictions on her to ensure that she does not flee the country. In the press release, the prosecutors listed the reasons why the court should monitor and restrict Ieng Thirith’s movement:

The purpose of these restrictions or conditions would be (1) to ensure that the Accused does not flee the jurisdiction of this Court (2) to ensure she does not interfere with witnesses or other accused giving evidence at trial (3) to ensure her safety and public order and (4) to ensure that her health is adequately monitored to enable the Trial Chamber to remain informed of her medical condition.

Her release has been delayed pending a ruling on the prosecution’s request.

Ieng Thirith was indicted [JURIST report] in September 2010 along with her husband and former foreign minister Ieng Sary, chief ideologist Nuon Chea and former head of state Khieu Samphan [ECCC profiles]. The ECCC ruled in November that Ieng Thirith was unfit to stand trial [JURIST report], but the Supreme Court Chamber ordered that she remain in detention [JURIST reports] and that the Trial Chamber exhaust all measures so that she could stand trial. The other three went on trial [JURIST report] in November.