Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence takes aim at KRT ‘interference’

Defence takes aim at KRT ‘interference’


After holding his tongue during the morning session of the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday,  Nuon Chea defence counsel Michiel Pestman said he was “forced” to speak out about alleged political interference in the court, as no other parties appeared willing to raise it.

{jathumbnail}

Referring to the candid resignation letter tendered by UN-nominated reserve co-investigating judge Laurent Kas­per-Ansermet last week, Pestman said:  “No organ in this court is immune from political meddling by the Cambodian government and . . . this Trial Chamber is no exception.”

Pestman announced he would again file a motion, as he did three times last year, for the Trial Chamber to investigate allegations of political interference in Case 002.

The three filings were rejected last September, and Pestman said he doubted a new filing would achieve a different result.

“Sadly, we do this knowing  our motion will be rejected,” he said, appealing to the two international judges of the Trial Chamber, Silvia Cartwright and Jean-Marc Lavergne, to “save the case” by dissenting from their Cambodian colleagues and encouraging an investigation.

“Every day you fail to act . . . this trial will spiral further away from the ideal the ECCC was designed to promote,” Pestman warned. “There comes a point where silence and inaction and the deliberate avoidance of difficult decisions evolves into complicity.”

Counsel for Khieu Samphan echoed Pestman’s criticisms, saying the “revelations” in Kasper-Ansermet’s note “justify further investigation”.

“The pressure that’s been exercised on this court [has] soiled the work of this court since its establishment,” Arthur Vercken said.

Although absent from this exchange, Ieng Sary defence counsel Michael Karnavas later accused deputy co-prosecutor William Smith of leading the witness, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, and treating his testimony as expert.

“The prosecution wants to turn this gentleman [Duch] into an expert through his testimony. To simply suggest that he [Duch] is this fountain of information .  .  .  is nonsense and ridiculous,” Karnavas said.

Defence counsel have challenged Duch’s testimony on the basis he is recounting post-regime research and not eye-witness accounts.

Duch detailed yesterday the “report lines” within S-21, the notorious prison he has been sentenced to life imprisonment for directing.

Duch said he had had to report to Nuon Chea “every three days or [at the least] once every five days”.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristin Lynch at kristin.lynch@phnompenhpost.com

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Setting up a drone for flight. Photo supplied

How Cambodia's first drone company is helping farmers

SM Waypoint claims its unmanned aerial vehicles can help local farm and plantation owners increase their yields. Established in September 2015, SM Waypoint now has seven drone pilots, two sales staff and two accountants. Though the company focuses mainly on agricultural projects, the potential uses of the drones are extremely varied, going from measuring exact land height for building drainage systems to finding the most suitable location for special economic zones (SEZs) or factories.

New street food dish shakes things up at Russian Market

Though the bustling food stalls that emerge after dark next to Phnom Penh's Russian Market can seem intimidating to tourists at first glance, there are street food treats to be enjoyed by all, from Kep crab to a new shrimp dish created by the market's owners.

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern