Khieu Samphan still in Calmette for treatment
The Mekong Times
Monday, May 26, 2008
Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge (KR) head of state, is still being treated at Calmette hospital for high blood pressure. He was taken to the hospital from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT)'s detention center May 21.
"[He] is better, but doctors have asked for Khieu Samphan to stay for a while to in order to monitor his diseases," said Reach Sambath, spokesman for the KRT.
Khieu Samphan, 77, suffers from high blood pressure, kidney disease, and is thought to have suffered a mild stroke late last year. His fragile state of health concerns many Cambodians who fear that it will disrupt a judicial process for which victims have awaited for more than three decades.
According to Reach Sambath, of the five senior KR leaders detained by the ECCC, former KR Foreign Minister Ieng Sary goes to hospital most often. The suspect thought to be in the best health is the former head of Toul Sleng prison Kaing Kek Euv, known as Duch, who is the youngest detainee at 65.
"If the health of the former KR leader continues to worsen, it will delay the process in seeking justice for KR victims because the investigative process will be too long," said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which has gathered thousands of pieces of written and oral evidence of the atrocities committed during the KR's brutal 1975-1979 rule.
"There is sufficient documentary evidence," said Youk Chhang. "But the court's procedures are complicated. Co-Investigating Judges need to find ways to speed the process up and use their resources to ensure justice is provided for victims."
Kek Galabru, president of local human rights group Licadho, said the public is concerned about the health of Khieu Samphan, adding that while the court has made great progress it seems to be moving too slowly.
"The lengthy trial process has aged Khieu Samphan and being held in the detention center has caused mental tension and had negative impacts on [his] health," she said.
"Cambodian people are afraid that [Khieu Samphan] will - like KR Brother Number One Pol Pot and one-legged former KR military commander Ta Mok - die without relating the secrets he knows of the mass killings during the KR regime," she said.
However, she believes that the tribunal has thoroughly considered the health problems of former KR leaders and that she hopes the international community will continue to support its process until it is complete.
Tribunal officials have acknowledged the public's fears.
"The tribunal, the public, and lawyers are all concerned," said Reach Sambath. "But most importantly we provide proper heath service for them. We hope that the former KR leaders will not have any health problems, and will be fit to stand trial."
Extracted from the Mekong Times
Issue No. 75
Monday, May 26, 2008