The Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday announced the assignment of a new international defence attorney to a suspect in the court’s government-opposed Case 004, just days after a court monitoring group blasted the tribunal for blocking defenders’ access to the Case 003 and 004 files.
In a statement yesterday, the court said that Suzana Tomanovic, a lawyer from Bosnia and Herzegovina with experience at the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, will be tentatively joining Cambodian lawyer So Mosseny in representing the unnamed Case 004 suspect, pending the results of an investigation into the client’s financial situation.
“[Tomanovic] received her education and legal training in the former Yugoslavia and has over 27 years of experience as a practicing lawyer,” the statement reads. “Recognised as an expert in international criminal defence, Ms Tomanovic was engaged as an expert consultant by the Ieng Sary defence at the ECCC at various points from 2011 to 2013.”
Court legal communications officer Lars Olsen said yesterday that Tomanovic and Mosseny’s assignments would be finalised should a pending investigation confirm that her client is eligible to have the cost of his defence covered under the court’s Legal Assistance Scheme.
Though officially confidential, the identities of the suspects in Case 004 are Ta An, Ta Tith and Im Chem, though it is unclear which one Tomanovic will represent.
Just days before Tomanovic’s assignment, on February 12, the Open Society Justice Initiative slammed the court’s handling of the government-opposed cases 003 and 004, saying its failure to provide defence teams with the case files constituted a failure to adequately protect suspects’ rights.
“The principle of granting defense access to case files serves two purposes: it protects basic fair trial rights, and enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the investigative and trial process” by allowing defenders to make investigative requests, the statement says.
“Under these circumstances, additional transparency and an explanation from the co-investigating judges – or at least the international co-investigating judge – are required to assure the public that the rights of the suspects are being respected.”