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Defense Teams Continue Boycott of Khmer Rouge Trial


In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, left, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Oct. 17, 2014.

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, left, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Oct. 17, 2014.

Defense lawyers for two jailed Khmer Rouge leaders continued their boycott of proceedings Monday at a U.N.-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh.

The defense teams for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan walked out Friday during the initial hearing of the second and final phase of a trial against the aging leaders for atrocity crimes, including genocide.

The defense teams boycotted a procedural meeting Monday.

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Nuon Chea, center, who was the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, in Phnom Penh, Oct. 17, 2014.

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Nuon Chea, center, who was the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, in Phnom Penh, Oct. 17, 2014.

The attorneys say the court has not settled other matters, including a complaint against four judges for bias, brought by Son Arun, a representative for Nuon Chea.

“If there is not a decision on the complaint of [judge] disqualification, we will keep our strong position, to continue boycotting the meetings and the next hearing,” he said.

Khieu Samphan’s team is trying to appeal a guilty verdict and life sentence from the first phase of the trial on charges including crimes against humanity.

The tribunal split the cases into two trials for fear the elderly defendants could die before proceedings against them could be completed.

More meetings are to be held this week, and another court hearing is scheduled for next Monday.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

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