PHNOM PENH —
The UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has postponed hearings of two jailed leaders until January, as the team for defendant Khieu Samphan maintains a boycott on proceedings.
Khieu Samphan has refused to participate in the second phase of an atrocity crimes trial against him and fellow leader Nuon Chea.
His defense says it must instead prepare his appeal from the first phase of the trial, in which he was given a life sentence for his leadership role and crimes committed when the Khmer Rouge took over power in 1975 and evacuated Phnom Penh.
The second and final phase (the trial was split up to expedite the process) would focus on more atrocity crimes across the country, including alleged genocide of Cham Muslims and Vietnamese minorities, forced marriage and rape.
New hearings are scheduled for Jan. 8, as the court attempts to break the boycott and bring Khieu Samphan back into the process.
Long Panhavuth, a program officer at the Open Justice Initiative, said the delay was a “victory” for the defense. “But the Trial Chamber could dismiss the defense team,” he added.