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KR lawyers appeal site order

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090316_03.jpg

Lawyers for former leader Ieng Sary have appealed an order forcing them to remove documents from their website.

Photo by:

ECCC/POOL

Former foreign affairs minister Ieng Sary in the dock at a tribunal hearing.

LAWYERS for former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary have appealed an order by judges at Cambodia's war crimes court to remove case-related documents from their personal website, saying it drastically undermines the principle of transparency.

The lawyers began posting documents stamped "public" on the site last year in response to what they saw as a suppressing of defence filings that were "embarrassing" to the court.  

However, judges claimed the website was a breach of confidentiality and forced the removal of documents by threatening lawyers with sanctions.

"The confidentiality order is clearly based on misconceptions, factual errors and flawed legal reasoning," the appeal stated.  

"As a slight against the defence, it also acts as the sword of Damocles, continually hanging over the defence, chillingly threatening its ability and stifling its efforts to defend Mr Ieng Sary," it added.

The order sparked claims that the lawyers were being unreasonably gagged and led to a debate over how confidential an international court should be regardless of a court's internal rules.

 "The public viewing of fair and transparent judicial proceedings - assuming that is in fact what transpires at the ECCC [Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia] - may be, after all, one of the most enduring legacies of this institution," the appeal said.

 "The public at large can only benefit by observing issues of such great importance being transparently debated, especially when these issues are likely to impact the viability and credibility of the end results of the ECCC proceedings," it added.

Lawyers for the ageing former leader have also submitted an expedited request to appoint a UN medical officer at the International Criminal Court in The Hague as an expert witness to the case.

Ieng Sary, 83, has been hospitalised nine times during his time in the ECCC detention facility due to kidney-related problems.  

"[Dr Paulus Falk] is uniquely qualified to assist the pretrial chamber to understand the various medical reports on Mr Ieng Sary," it stated.

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