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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence lawyers urge Sok An to hand over KRT corruption info

Defence lawyers urge Sok An to hand over KRT corruption info

Defence lawyers for Nuon Chea say graft claims could threaten their client's right to a fair trial, with credibility of the court at stake

LAWYERS for former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea have written a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An demanding the disclosure of any communication between the government and the United Nations regarding corruption at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Post Thursday, is the second by the defendant's legal team, who claim that graft allegations could threaten their client's right to a fair trial. The first was sent in September to ECCC administration director Sean Visoth and United Nations coordinator Knut Rosandhaug, who both replied that they were unable to provide the requested information.

"Given the stated positions of the United Nations and the Cambodian side of the ECCC, it is left for us to seek assistance from your office," co-lawyers Michiel Pestman and Victor Koppe wrote.

"We hereby request from the [government] disclosure of (i) any communications and/or reports from the United Nations relating to issues of corruption at the ECCC and (ii) any further details of allegations of corruption at the ECCC in your possession, including the positions and/or departments of the alleged malefactors."

The letter cited the UN's response, which claimed it would not oppose disclosure of the requested material "should the Royal Government of Cambodia agree to disclose such communications" as the basis of their request. Cambodian lawyer Son Arun's signature was absent from the letter.

Still no news

Allegations that Cambodian staff were kicking back a portion of their salary to their bosses were reviewed by a UN oversight body in New York in July. Since this time, no court officials have commented on the results, despite the UN claiming that they had finished the review and a government statement in September saying that they had seen it.

An August circular by Sok An indicated future graft complaints will remain confidential until reviewed by a government-led task force.

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