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Tribunal judge finds DSS pattern troubling

In striking down a Defence Support Section decision not to pay for a legal consultant’s travel, a Khmer Rouge tribunal judge has accused the unit of a “pattern” of inadequately respecting the rights of the potential defendants in the embattled Case 004.

“The [UN administrative judge], having reviewed the other requests and related decisions, finds it apparent that the Head of DSS ... discloses a pattern of failing to properly and thoroughly take into consideration the totality of rights attached to [the suspect] at this stage of the proceedings,” reads administrative judge Rowan Downing’s filing, which was made public July 22.

Cases 003 and 004 have both been repeatedly opposed by government officials, who have made it clear they will not allow them to proceed.

Downing went on to say that the DSS chief “in this matter, displayed, at least, an appearance of prejudice and bias,” and called for the issue to be settled by someone else.

The pattern Downing referred to, Case 004 defence lawyer Göran Sluiter said yesterday, began when the DSS rejected an earlier travel request, and then a subsequent request for funding for a preliminary investigation into matters pertaining to his client’s defence.

“Our worry is that we have not been in a position to prepare our defence, and at a later stage, we may not be given that position at all ... and before you know it, your client’s rights are seriously violated,” he said.

Sluiter added that he is considering refiling the request for investigation funding.

Michael Karnavas, a former attorney in Case 002 who is awaiting confirmation to represent a client in Case 003, also said that his dealings with the DSS “have been at times very trying, if not exasperating”.

“We experienced no problems in Case 002; our relations were excellent,” he said in an email. “Regrettably, that can not be said for Case 003.

“There have been a series of obstacles and incidents which can not be dismissed as mere innocent coincidences,” he continued. “Everything is at a snail’s pace, as if the objective is to purposely delay.”

Court spokesman Lars Olsen declined to comment on the matter, saying it was still under consideration.

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