THE head of the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Defence Support Section announced his resignation yesterday, leaving a warning about the threat of political interference in the work of the court.
DSS head Richard Rogers said in a statement that he would be moving on from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the tribunal is formally known, to go to the Hague, headquarters of the International Criminal Court. As the tribunal moves forward with its work, the Briton stressed the importance of making proper recourse available to defence teams concerned about political interference.
“The ECCC does not exist in a vacuum; it functions within a country where the institutions of justice and respect for rule of law are still developing,” Rogers said.
“In this context, the greatest challenge for the defence remains the threat of political interference that may undermine the independence of the Court. Whilst there are judicial voting mechanisms in place to guard against this possibility, they may yet prove to be inadequate.”
The DSS is not associated with any particular defendant, but rather provides legal and administrative assistance to the court’s five defence teams. United Nations court spokesman Lars Olsen said yesterday that a successor for Rogers, due to step down this week, had not yet been appointed.
“There will be a replacement recruited as per normal procedures,” Olsen said.