Cambodia: Khmer Rouge couple selects lawyers for trial at UN-backed tribunal
Ieng Sary, who was foreign minister under the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, and his wife Ieng Thirith, who served as social affairs minister, met yesterday with the defence support section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to choose their co-lawyers.
The meeting follows their arrests earlier yesterday. Mr. Ieng faces charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes while Madame Ieng Thirith is charged with crimes against humanity.
Mr. Ieng and Madame Ieng Thirith claim they cannot afford to pay for their lawyers, the ECCC said in a press release issued in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, where the court is based. While the claims are being assessed, the ECCC’s legal assistance scheme will fund their defence.
Mr. Ieng has chosen the Cambodian lawyer Ang Udom to represent him and shortlisted two possible foreign co-lawyers as well. The court said a final selection is expected later this week.
Madame Ieng Thirith has selected Phat Pouv Seang as her Cambodian lawyer and Diana Ellis QC from the United Kingdom as her foreign co-lawyer.
The court also said that the first adversarial hearing in the case will take place tomorrow and will focus on whether the couple should remain in detention before the trial begins.
Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.