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Defense Teams Continue Boycott of Khmer Rouge Trial

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, left, former Khmer Rouge head of state, and Nuon Chea, right, who was the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, sit in the court hall before they made closing statements at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Defense lawyers for two jailed Khmer Rouge leaders continued their boycott of proceedings at the UN-backed tribunal on Monday.

The defense teams for aging leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan walked out of an initial hearing on Friday that opened the second and final phase of a trial against the two men for atrocity crimes, including genocide.

Defense teams also did not attend a procedural meeting on Monday.

The attorneys say the court has not settled other matters, including a complaint against four judges for bias, brought by Nuon Chea’s defense, and an attempt to appeal a guilty verdict and life sentence from the first phase of the trial, brought by Khieu Samphan’s team.

“If there is not a decision on the complaint of [judge] disqualification, we’ll keep our strong position, to continue boycotting the meetings and the next hearing,” Son Arun, defense lawyer for Nuon Chea, said.

More meetings are to be held this week, leading up to another hearing session on Oct. 27.