Khmer Rouge tribunal officials scrambled to pull down a faulty link yesterday after it was revealed it provided access to a confidential, though previously leaked, court document detailing the names of the suspects in Case 003 and the crimes of which they are accused.
They then warned that those publishing information from the document could be subject to contempt of court proceedings.
The link was up for approximately 18 hours before officials were alerted to the error and deleted it.
Through the link, users could download a copy of the prosecution’s Second Introductory Submission in Case 003, a confidential document that made headlines when it was leaked to the media in June 2011.
In a move roundly criticised by media monitors and rights groups, investigating judges then opened contempt proceedings against Voice of America (VOA), though the document had been heavily circulated by other outlets by the time of the VOA reports.
The widely available submission names naval commander Meas Muth and air force commander Sou Meth as suspects in Case 003 and calls for their arrest as well as a full investigation into the alleged crimes.
Among other crimes, the pair are believed to have overseen purges of the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea that saw tens of thousands of deaths.
Though the names of all five mid-ranking cadres listed as suspects in the government-opposed cases 003 and 004 are widely known and have appeared in the public domain for years, the court has refused to publicly release them.
The extreme levels of secrecy surrounding investigations into the politically sensitive cases have led to numerous clashes within the OCIJ and between judges and prosecutors amid allegations the cases are being buried at the government’s behest.
Early this year, in an effort to push forward investigations that have remained stalled since prosecutors first called for them in 2008, then-international Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet informed the suspects of the charges against them and their legal rights. The move came shortly after the judge re-opened investigations in Case 003, a move opposed by his national counterpart.
To this day, it is unknown whether his decision stands and whether any further investigation has been made into the case.