The Pre-Trial Chamber of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal on Friday concluded its three-day hearing in Case 003 against former Khmer Rouge navy commander Meas Muth and the verdict is expected to be issued early next year.
Neth Pheaktra, Tribunal spokesman, yesterday said the verdict is expected early next year whether the case should be sent for a trial or be dropped.
“The Pre-Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal expects that it will issue the verdict in Case 003 at the first quarter of 2020 on whether the case should be sent to the trial or be dropped,” Mr Pheaktra said.
According to an Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia press release issued on Friday, the international co-prosecutor, the deputy national co-prosecutor, and national and international defence co-lawyers presented their arguments on the case.
The release said that the Chamber granted Muth’s request, which was submitted with a supporting medical certificate to dispense personal appearance for reasons of Muth’s old age and poor health, noting that Muth was represented by his lawyers at the hearing.
The Pre-Trial Chamber convened on the appeals lodged by the national co-prosecutor and the co-lawyers for Muth, on April 5, 2019, and April 8, 2019, respectively, against the closing orders delivered by the international co-investigating judge on 28 November 2018 in Case 003, it said.
“The Pre-Trial Chamber will determine if Muth satisfies the criteria of the court’s jurisdiction and whether there are sufficient charges to indict him for the crimes alleged or the charges against him should be dismissed,” it noted. “The Chamber will now adjourn to deliberate on its decision. The decision would be final with no further appeals.”
Living in Battambang province’s Samlot district, Muth, 81, was charged for crimes against humanity and other crimes when he served his role as navy commander in Sihanoukville during the 1975-1979 Democratic Kampuchea regime.
Muth could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he told Khmer Times last year he was a low-level official during the Khmer Rouge regime and claimed his health deteriorated and he should not be responsible for the crimes.
“Now I am almost dead. I have my coffin prepared already and I have difficulty breathing,” Muth said then.
Muth’s lawyer Ang Udom said that co-international judges and co-national judges disagreed with each other, with the former wanting to send the case to trial but the latter wanting to have it dismissed.
“We requested the judges to acquit my client and not to send this case to the trial,” Mr Udom said.
Mr Udom said that Muth was sick.
“Now he is getting medical treatment at his home and hospital,” he said.
Lor Chunthy, a lawyer for civil parties in Case 003, said that he wanted co-international judges and judges to send the case to trial.
“As a lawyer for civil parties, we support the decision of co-international prosecutors and judges,” Mr Chunthy said.