The pre-trial chamber of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal is due to hear arguments of parties in Case 003 against former Khmer Rouge navy commander Meas Muth next month.
The hearings will take place for three days from November 27 to 29 after the appeals lodged by the national co-prosecutor and the co-lawyers for Mr Muth on April 5 and 8, respectively, against the closing order delivered by the international co-investigating judge on November 28 last year.
In November last year, judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia issued a split decision on whether or not to prosecute Mr Muth.
The national co-investigating judge ruled that Mr Muth was not a senior Khmer Rouge leader nor was he one of the persons most responsible for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge regime.
However, the international co-investigating judge ruled that Mr Muth was in fact subject to the ECCC’s jurisdiction because he was a senior Khmer Rouge leader and it prompted the case to be transferred to the Pre-trial Chamber.
According a statement released by the ECCC yesterday, it will hear the arguments of the parties before it issues its decision.
“The national co-prosecutor, the international co-prosecutor, and the national and international co-lawyers for the charged person will be given the floor to present their arguments,” the statement said. “The charged person, if present, shall be given the opportunity to make a personal statement at the end of the hearing.”
Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra yesterday said that the judgement on the appeal will be issued early next year.
“The pre-trial chamber projects its judgement(s) on appeals against the closing orders by the first quarter of 2020,” Mr Pheaktra said.
He said that Mr Muth informed his co-lawyers on Monday to “exercise right to remain silent” and waiver of right to attend hearings on the appeals against the closing orders.
Mr Muth told Khmer Times last year that he was a low-level official during the Khmer Rouge regime and claimed his health deteriorated and should not be responsible for the crimes.
“Now I almost die. I have my coffin prepared already and I have difficulty breathing,” Mr Muth said then.
Mr Muth was initially named a suspect in Case 003 regarding crimes against humanity committed by the regime.