Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal says it will suspend trial sessions until January, bowing to pressure from lawyers of one of the two defendants charged with genocide.

A tribunal statement Tuesday said hearings would resume Jan. 9, deferring to threats of a boycott by lawyers of Khieu Samphan, who said it was unfair to proceed while they are still working on appealing the verdict in his first trial.

Khieu Samphan, the 1970s regime's head of state, and Nuon Chea, right-hand man to the communist group's late leader, Pol Pot, received life sentences in August after being found guilty of crimes against humanity. Some 1.7 million people are estimated to have died under Khmer Rouge rule.

The tribunal said it was impractical to replace Khieu Samphan's lawyers without causing more delays.