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Sam Rainsy Wants Ieng Sary Called in Suit

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy told reporters Tuesday he will ask the court to allow jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary to testify in his defense in a defamation case.

If Phnom Penh Municipal Court agrees, he will request Ieng Sary be allowed to testify in a lawsuit brought by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

Sam Rainsy said his lawyers have already begun drafting the necessary documents.

"In the capacity as an accused person, I ask Ieng Sary to be my witness," Sam Rainsy said. "My position is, if Hor Namhong proposes Duch to be his witness, I will ask also Ieng Sary to be mine. My proposal is because Hor Namhong himself confessed that he had a good relationship with Ieng Sary, and I would like Ieng Sary to explain his relationship with Hor Namhong."

Hor Namhong has been quoted in the media in the past saying he knew Ieng Sary and was the head of a work group at Boeung Trabek prison camp, but he has maintained he was never the director of the camp.

He has said some of his family, including his sister, perished under the regime.

Sam Rainsy lawyer Chu Chung Ngy said he submitted a request to the Khmer Rouge tribunal early Tuesday, but had received no response.

Ieng Sary lawyer Ang Udom said Tuesday he will report Sam Rainsy's request to Ieng Sary, if such a request comes.

Tribunal spokesman Peter Foster said he knew of no legal restrictions to such participation.

"However, it would take close collaboration and agreement between the office of the co-investigating judges here and the legal representatives in the other case," he said. "It would be part of an agreement, an arrangement, they would have to make between themselves. But so far we have no request for any such movement of anybody from another court to be a witness."