[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea [GenocideWatch profile] will request release on bail when he appears in front of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] Monday for a pre-trial hearing relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity charges [statement, PDF], Nuon Chea's lawyers said Sunday. Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two in the Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder], was arrested and charged [JURIST report] in September and has since been held by the ECCC. His family has expressed concern over his health and urged the tribunal to release him into their custody. Prosecutors have said that Nuon Chea's detention is necessary to prevent him from pressuring witnesses and destroying evidence. He has disputed [JURIST report] the charges against him.
The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] between 1975 and 1979 during the communist movement led by Pol Pot [BBC profile], who died in 1998 having never been prosecuted for alleged war crimes. The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2005, PDF] to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials, but to date, no top officials have faced trials. The first trials are expected to begin this year. AP has more.