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Tribunal Case Against Three Khmer Rouge Leader Won’t Be Divided

Cambodian military officials line up in front the top leaders of Khmer Rouge portraits, from right, former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, and former Deputy Secretary Nuon Chea, during the second day of trial of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Three senior leaders of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime on Tuesday continue to be questioned at the U.N.-backed tribunal over their roles in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people when their movement held power in the 1970s.
PHNOM PENH - The Supreme Court Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal has ruled that the UN-backed court cannot divide the cases of three men accused of atrocity crimes who are currently on trial together.

Supreme Court judges said the argument for doing so lacked clarity and reasoning, and that a division of the case was being done “without having given the parties sufficient opportunity to be heard.”

A lower court had sought to divide the case into three parts in September 2011, to speed up the trials of three aging leaders. The leaders—Noun Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary—will remain bound in the same case, accused of crimes including genocide.

The Trial Chamber of the court had initially ruled that the case be divided, in hopes of expediting the trials, as the aging leaders continue to show signs of poor health.

A tribunal spokesman said the Trial Chamber of the court will hold hearings Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 to consider the Supreme Court’s decision.