The Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s trial chamber has formally warned Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan’s defence lawyers that their boycott of the Case 002/02 trial “amounts to an obstruction of proceedings”.
The missive, released yesterday, came after the prosecution requested that the chamber appoint temporary lawyers to represent the accused while the boycott continues or until the defence lawyers are disqualified “on grounds of continuing misconduct”.
During Case 002/02 opening statements last Friday, Samphan and Chea announced that they had asked their lawyers to boycott the trial unless hearings were postponed, following which the defence teams left the courtroom.
Chea has pledged his team’s boycott will continue until a decision is made on a motion that the tribunal’s judges be disqualified. Samphan wants his team to focus on his Case 002/01 appeal, instead of attending hearings in the current case.
A Trial Management Meeting (TMM) was scheduled on Tuesday but the defence teams “failed to either appear or provide any valid justification for their absence, in violation of a direct order of the Trial Chamber,” yesterday’s notice says.
The teams have received an “official warning of misconduct”.
Samphan lawyer Arthur Vercken yesterday said he was “furious” about the way the judges were acting. He also contested the use of the term “boycott”.
“We are not rotten kids with too many toys who don’t care about our parents’ orders. We are not boycotting, we just have no choice … we are defending Khieu Samphan and he has the right to prepare his [appeal],” he said.
Nuon Chea lawyer Son Arun declined to comment.
The defence teams have been ordered to appear at another TMM on Tuesday, while trial hearings scheduled for Monday have been cancelled.