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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Documents debated at KRT

Audience members follow court proceedings earlier this year at the ECCC in Phnom Penh. ECCC
Audience members follow court proceedings earlier this year at the ECCC in Phnom Penh. ECCC

Documents debated at KRT

The Khmer Rouge tribunal will hand down a decision on whether to admit a set of documents – which cast doubt on the independence of the judges and question if the atrocities during the regime actually amounted to genocide – after they were submitted by defence lawyers during proceedings yesterday.

The documents were submitted ahead of the testimony of expert witness Dr Alexander Hinton, the author of Why Did They Kill?, who is set to appear on March 14.

Prosecution lawyers objected to two of the 17 documents presented by the defence counsel for Case 002/02 defendant Nuon Chea.

The first was an article calling into question the independence of the Cambodian judges that were appointed to the ECCC, which prosecutor William Smith said was “of extremely negligible probative value”, and did not concern the expert witness.

The defence lawyer for Nuon Chea, Victor Koppe, who has been outspoken on his criticism of the judiciary, said his team didn’t plan to ask the witness whether a fair trial was possible in the court. “Obviously, the trial chamber knows our position.”

The second document the prosecution objected to was William Schabas’ Problems of International Codification – Were the Atrocities in Cambodia and Kosovo Genocide?, which states: “Indeed, the notorious emptying of Cambodian cities that characterized the beginning of the country’s bizarre social revolution was accomplished peacefully.”

Mr Smith maintained that claim was not true, according to the facts heard by the court.

The trial resumes on Wednesday.

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