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Prosecutors Urge Speedy Verdict in Trial of Aging Leaders

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

Former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, left, and Nuon Chea, right, look on during the funeral for Khieu Ponnary, the first wife of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, in 2003.

Former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, left, and Nuon Chea, right, look on during the funeral for Khieu Ponnary, the first wife of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, in 2003.

PHNOM PENH - Prosecutors at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal say the court needs to wrap up its second trial, ending a case against the only two leaders currently in custody.

Following the last of closing remarks on Thursday, prosecutors said they want to see a verdict in the atrocities crimes trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan by the middle of next year, with both leaders aging, and with donor fatigue continuing to be a problem.

The end of the trial—only the tribunal’s second since its inception in 2006—marked a major accomplishment for the court, which has been beleaguered by budget woes, staff walk-outs, bickering between Cambodian and international staff and other problems.

Prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian told reporters Thursday that budget concerns remain a top worry.

“The donors, I believe will be willing to fund this court when we can show them that we are moving forward to a concrete result in an efficient manner,” he said.

That would mean an expedient verdict, he said.

Prosecutor Chea Leang said the Cambodian side of the hybrid court had money to cover its operations through the end of the year.

Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the court, said the tribunal was finalizing a budget to present to donors in New York within the next two weeks.
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