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Khmer Rouge Defendants To Remain in Custody for Trial

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia, (ECCC).
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia, (ECCC).

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal has affirmed the indictments of four regime leaders and determined it will keep them in provisional detention ahead of trial.

The court said in a statement Thursday it has officially “ordered the accused persons to be sent for trial and to continue to be held in provisional detention until they are brought before the Trial Chamber.”

The announcement means no claims by the defense to end the trial process were admitted by the chamber.

Four seniors leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith—are awaiting trial for atrocity crimes, including genocide, with the trial process expected to begin later this year.

Lawyers for the accused say their clients have been detained past the maximum three-year period allowed by law.

“If the trial keeps getting delayed further and further, Nuon Chea's lawyer team will find ways to ask the court to release our client on bail,” defense attorney Son Arun said.

The three-year pre-trial detention period expired at the end of 2010, but the rules of the court are open to some interpretation.

Phat Povseang, a lawyer for former social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, said the defense can only argue about court procedures to the Trial Chamber, but the Pre-Trial Chamber's decision is final.