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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nuon Chea’s lawyers to face the bar abroad

Nuon Chea’s lawyers to face the bar abroad

Brother No 2 Nuon Chea’s defence lawyers had exhibited a “pattern of disregard” for their duties at the Khmer Rouge tribunal amounting to professional misconduct, Trial Chamber judges said in a decision on Friday.

The judges had compiled enough “egregious examples of misconduct” by Dutch lawyer Michiel Pestman and American lawyer Andrew Ianuzzi to refer to the bar associations in Amsterdam and New York respectively for “appropriate action”.

Both lawyers are now working on the case from abroad.

Particularly “egregious” acts include Ianuzzi’s reference to Dr Dre lyrics when filing a motion for New Zealand Judge Silvia Cartwright to keep all her responses open and on the record after she was allegedly caught by the team mouthing the words “blah blah blah” while they were making submissions.

The Trial Chamber, in its decision on the misconduct of judges said this allegation was false.

Ianuzzi yesterday told the Post that he looked “forward to submitting my own version of events to my bar association in due course. I have a ready answer for each and every charge levelled by the Trial Chamber – including the defamatory remark that I ‘falsely claimed to have read Judge Cartwright’s lips’,” he said by email.

The bench hearing the case against Nuon Chea and his two fellow co-accused also considered the team’s repeated protests of government interference at the UN-backed tribunal to be part of the “pattern of misconduct”.

“[The team] seems to be trying to provoke high-profile members of the Cambodian government by linking them to the activities of the Democratic Kampuchea,” judges said.

The core position of Nuon Chea’s defence is that government interference at the tribunal has destroyed any likelihood of a free and fair trial.

Documentation Center of Cambodia legal adviser Anne Heindel said it was this “inherently confrontational” defence strategy that had caused an ongoing struggle between the lawyers and judges.

“Their defence is that the court is riddled with political interference, and by bringing it up and being shut down consistently, they aim to prove that – and they are allowed to pursue their defence,” Heindel said, adding it was up to the court to manage this.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at



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