Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tribunal To Hold Health Hearing on Three Defendants

"Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea (4th L) and former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary (2nd R) sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

A senior official at the UN-backed tribunal said Thursday the Trial Chamber of the court will hold a hearing in August to determine whether three of four jailed regime leaders will be healthy enough to stand trial.

Judge Nil Nonn, head of the Trial Chamber, said in a statement the court had received confidential health reports on Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, who are charged with atrocity crimes alongside Khieu Samphan.

The extra hearing will be held just one month before the trial is scheduled to begin in September.

The declining health of the aging leaders is an ongoing concern for Cambodians who have waited decades for them to have their day in court.

Ieng Sary, who will soon be 86, has heart problems. His wife, Ieng Thirith, 79, has insomnia, along with eye problems. And Nuon Chea, who is 85, has high blood pressure.

Their defense lawyers have sought to have them excused from detention, or even trial, on health grounds.

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said the court will inform the public after it decides on how their failing health may affect a trial.