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Victor Koppe (front) and Nuon Chea (left) sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia earlier this year.
Victor Koppe (front) and Nuon Chea (left) sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia earlier this year. ECCC

Nuon Chea defender tells court he will not resign

Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe, responding to a request by the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Supreme Court Chamber, explained his absence from appeal hearings for Case 002/01 earlier this month.

Koppe’s filing, dated November 23 and made public on Friday, informs the chamber that he has decided not to withdraw as Chea’s defender, despite a “deep conviction that a fair trial at the ECCC . . . is absolutely impossible”, and that “the ECCC is indeed, and always will be, a complete farce”.

Koppe backs up these convictions by citing a damning report by the Asia International Justice Initiative released earlier this month on the flaws of the case 002/01 judgment as well as an October 28 email to the court’s senior legal officer Volker Nerlich, in which Koppe says he is “considering to formally withdraw as appeal defence counsel”, along with several other emails in which he informs the court of a potential absence from appeal hearings.

The prosecution also filed a submission last Monday requesting the Supreme Court Chamber resume the interrupted appeal hearings “as soon as possible” and question Chea to determine whether waiving his counsel was his idea.

Meanwhile, amid funding “challenges”, the ECCC announced on Friday the reception of a new pledge from Japan amounting to $1,221,818, pushing the Japanese total historic contribution to the court to over $83 million.

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