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Defence accuses KRT judge of bias

DEFENCE lawyers for former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary on Monday laid out fresh allegations of bias and rules violations on the part of international co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde in filings that reiterated their earlier call for his disqualification.

The filings, submitted Monday, refer to a December 2 statement from Wayne Bastin, former chief of the Intelligence and Analysis Unit of the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges (OCIJ).

In October, Bastin provided a witness account of an August meeting in which he said Lemonde expressed a preference for inculpatory, rather than exculpatory, evidence. That statement prompted lawyers Michael Karnavas and Ang Udom to ask for Lemonde’s dismissal as well as for a public hearing in which those present at the meeting would be required to testify.

The new statement and filings contend that Lemonde compromised the confidentiality of the office’s work by allowing a French film crew to record an interview with a potential insider witness, and by ordering that all OCIJ staff be given access to a database of insider witnesses.

The lawyers also take issue with a document on avenues of inquiry supplied by prosecution expert Craig Etcheson. Karnavas and Ang Udom say they were not informed of the document, and that Lemonde’s conduct “strongly suggests” that Etcheson has been allowed to exert “undue influence” over the OCIJ investigation.

Karnavas said by email Monday that all of the alleged transgressions were “serious”.

“From what we are seeing, it would appear that an investigation needs to be done on the OCIJ and in particular the matters raised in our submissions,” he said.

He also noted that the defence team had yet to hear back on its earlier request for Lemonde’s disqualification, a decision on which is pending in the Pre-Trial Chamber.

“Why not let the Cambodian people see what is going on, see how the judicial system functions, and how issues concerning the proper functioning of the ECCC should be resolved in the open?” he said.

UN court spokesman Lars Olsen said Lemonde could not comment on the content of the filings. “Mr Lemonde is very surprised to hear about this filing through the media, because he has not been notified about the filing in accordance with the law,” Olsen said.

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