PHNOM PENH (FN), Feb. 20 — After the three-day appeal hearing at the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Supreme Court Chamber came to an end, and after a meeting on Feb.18, between the Cambodian government and the United Nations, the long-awaited verdict to be issued by the tribunal against two former senior Khmer Rouge leaders are expected by the middle of the year, according to a joint statement on the results of the meeting.

At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Minister of the Council of Ministers and Chairman of Cambodian Government Task Force on the Khmer Rouge Trials and his interlocutor, Ambassador David Scheffer, the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Expert on the U.N. Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, were discussing the most recent developments and were fully supportive of the hybrid-tribunal, reads the statement made available to the press on Feb.20.

The statement continues that DP Sok An and Amb. David Scheffer recognized that a lot of progresses have been made by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia over the last few months in regard of Case 003 and Case 004 and the two officials also expected that Case 002/02 would come to an end by the fourth quarter of 2016 while the verdict on Case 002/01 were expected by the middle of this year of 2016.

The Trial Chamber of ECCC on August 7, 2014 sentenced Nuon Chea, the number two in the former Khmer Rouge leadership, after Pol Pot, and Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge’s Head of State, to life imprisonment for committing crimes against humanity and other crimes relating mainly to forced evacuation and systematic killing of Lon Nol soldiers at Tuol Po Chrey, Pursat province (200 km west of Phnom Penh) after the Khmer Rouge victory on April 17, 1975.

The two defendants appealed the verdict and the appeal hearing was initially scheduled for Nov. 17-19 2015 but was postponed because Nuon Chea and his team walked out of the court room. Anyway, the hearing resumed on 16-18 Feb. 2016 and the verdict is expected in the middle of the year.