Bail denied for 'Brother No. 2'

UN-backed tribunal rejects appeal by former Khmer Rouge deputy against detention.

    Nuon Chea is the most senior surviving member of the former Khmer Rouge leadership [AFP]
    He is the most senior surviving member of the Khmer Rouge, the group blamed for the deaths of up to two million Cambodians during its rule in the 1970s.
     

    Son Arun, Nuon Chea's lawyer, said after the ruing that he regretted the decision as his client's mental and physical health had deteriorated since his arrest.

     

    "His health is weakening and he is forgetting a lot," he Arun said, adding that he had asked the court to determine whether Nuon Chea would be mentally fit to stand trial.

     
    Nuon Chea: 'Brother No. 2'


    Born in 1923, Nuon Chea is the most senior surviving former Khmer Rouge leader

     

    Served as deputy to Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, and was group's chief ideologue for more than 30 years

     

    Played a key role in carrying out Khmer Rouge plan to relocate millions of Cambodians to vast collective farms, which later became the notorious "killing fields"

     

    Arrested in September 2007, at his home in Pailin near Thai border

     

    Facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity

    Launching his appeal against his continued detention last month, Nuon Chea denied prosecution suggestions that he might try to flee the country or interfere with possible witnesses.

     

    "I have no desire to leave my beloved country," he told the court.

     

    He says his arrest last September was an "illegal act".

     

    The former right-hand man to Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader who died in 1998, Nuon Chea has always denied any guilt, saying he was not a cruel man, but "a patriot".

     

    Nuon Chea is the second senior Khmer Rouge official to appeal his detention, following a similar move - also rejected - by Kang Kek Iew, AKA "Duch", who headed the group's Tuol Sleng prison and interrogation centre.

     

    Funding crisis

     

    The panel of Cambodian and international judges, known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, is due to begin formal trials later this year.

     

    However, earlier this month tribunal officials warned that a massive shortfall in funding could bring the entire Khmer Rouge trial process to a halt.

     

    Many Cambodian legal staff working for the court have been told they could be made redundant within weeks unless extra funds are made available by the UN.

     

    Tribunal officials have asked for a tripling of the court's original budget from $56m to $170m, saying initial estimates of the work involved fell woefully short.

     

    But with allegations of corruption and poor management, there are doubts that the full request will be met.

     

    The tribunal process has been blighted by delays and critics say they fear the few surviving members of the Khmer Rouge leadership may die before ever being brought to justice.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.