The Khmer Rouge tribunal has ordered the jailed regime couple Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith to submit within 15 days any appeal they may have against their pre-trial detention.
Rights groups applauded the announcement as a promising move by the courts to speed up the oft-delayed proceedings.
Ieng Sary must submit an appeal by about Jan. 4, Ieng Thirith by about Jan. 3.
The married couple was arrested in November and each was charged with atrocity crimes.
Ieng Sary's lawyer, Ang Udom, said Friday the notice was very sudden, giving defense attorneys a short time to prepare, compared to the length of time prosecutors and investigators had to build their cases.
But Thun Saray, director of the rights group Adhoc, said the time limit was necessary to prevent the pre-trial detention from "dragging on" before trials are conducted.