The Pre-Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Friday dismissed appeals [press release] by three former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] officials to block the extension of their provisional detention. The three prisoners, Ieng Thirith, Ieng Sary, and Khieu Samphan [judgments, PDF], were arrested in November 2007 and originally held in one-year provisional detention, which has been extended twice for all three of them. They face charges [Bangkok Post report] of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder, torture, and religious persecution, but the cases are still under investigation. The Pre-Trial chamber found in each case that "there is sufficient additional evidence in the case file to demonstrate that the case has progressed expeditiously" and that further detention while the investigation continues is reasonable given the "gravity and nature of the crimes" charged.
Ieng Sary [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] was foreign minister during the Khmer Rouge regime, while his wife Ieng Thirith [Trial Watch profile; case materials] served as social affairs minister. Khieu Samphan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] was the head of state. Others have been charged in connection to Khmer Rouge, including former deputy leader and chief ideologist Nuon Chea [JURIST report]. In December, the ECCC heard final arguments [JURIST report] in its first trial, that of Kaing Guek Eav [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive], also known as "Duch." Kaing was the first of eight [JURIST report] ex-Khmer Rouge officials to be tried before the ECCC. The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979.