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Khieu Samphan Firm on Case Translation

Lawyers of jailed Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan said Thursday they were maintaining their request that 16,000 documents be translated into French before judges decide on a hearing for his pre-trial detention.

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the tribunal issued a letter to the lawyers on Aug. 15, asking whether they would continue to demand that all the documents be translated. The chamber provided three dates to the lawyers to continue a hearing over Khieu Samphan's pre-trial detention: Sept. 8, Oct. 20 and Dec. 1.

Defense lawyer Sar Sovan confirmed Thursday the defense would require the documents be translated.

Tribunal officials have been translating the documents since April, when Khieu Samphan initially appeared before pre-trial judges. At the outset of the hearing, French defense lawyer Jacques Verges said he would be unable to defend his client effectively without translation of the case file.

Judges agreed to postpone the hearing.

"Unless all documents have been translated, my colleague and I will not be able to ensure the defense of Khieu Samphan," Sar Sovan said Thursday. "And if they decide to continue to try him, the trial will be unfair."

Khieu Samphan, 76, faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, for his role as the president of the Democratic Kampuchea regime. He has been detained since his arrest in November 2007.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said it was unclear which date Khieu Samphan could have a hearing, but translation of the case file continues.

The Pre-Trial Chamber will try to have Khieu Samphan's pre-trial detention hearing before proceedings start in the trial of prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, Reach Sambath.