A civil party request to speak during Ieng Sary's hearing today tested the limits of victim participation in the tribunal - and highlighted discrepancies in the court's internal rules.
Civil party Theary Seng had asked to speak on Sary's appeal against provisional detention.
After she was denied the opportunity - ostensibly because she had a lawyer to speak for her - Seng told the court she had dismissed her lawyer.
Civil parties have a right to address the court and can represent themselves without a lawyer, said civil party attorney Silke Studzinsky, supporting Seng's request.
"Civil parties are not obliged to be represented," she said.
But after deliberating, the majority of judges ruled that, in accordance with internal rules, only lawyers of civil parties could make observations in pre-trial hearings.
At the same time, Judge Rowan Downing offered a dissenting opinion. He said there appeared to be a conflict in the tribunal's internal rules and would, for the time being, have been willing to let Seng speak.
The judges will need to address this discrepancy. It does appear that the internal rules are, at the very least, ambiguous and the key role of civil parties should be clarified.
*Pictured above: Civil party Theary Seng.
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