Defense lawyers protest website restrictions

a recent "Confidentiality Order" from the Co-Investigating Judges. " />

Defense lawyers protest website restrictions

After being forced to remove documents from their self-published website, lawyers for Ieng Sary lodged an appeal last week against a recent "Confidentiality Order" from the Co-Investigating Judges.

The Co-Investigating Judges claimed the lawyers were posting documents that, if made public, would compromise the quality of judicial investigations at the tribunal. Lawyers temporarily removed several documents, but said they would fight back. In their appeal, filed March 10, they had tough words for the court. I've posted some of the highlights below:

* "Only by vacating the Confidentiality Order and permitting the Defence to maintain a website throughout the entirety of the ECCC proceedings which posts the Defence team's public filings before the ECCC, will the Pre-Trial Chamber be able to ensure that there is no chilling effect on the right of each party to the proceedings to advocate its interests freely, openly and transparently," co-lawyers for Ieng Sary Michael Karnavas and Ang Udom wrote.

* The co-lawyers cited what they perceive as unnecessary delays between the filing of documents at the tribunal, and when parties were notified of the filings. "As the timing of filings is an inextricable part of a party's strategy and tactics, the inexplicable delays in notifying the parties of the filing of a document -- a purely administrative process which at the ad hoc Tribunals takes little more than a few hours at most -- gives the unambiguous impression that these filings are either being suppressed or delayed for improper motives."

* The co-lawyers wrote that the Confidentiality Order "acts as the sword of Damocles, continually hanging over the Defence, chillingly threatening its ability and stifling its efforts to defend Mr. Ieng Sary."

Since I was unfamiliar with this expression, I was glad the lawyers explained its origin in a footnote: "The expression, which means being under constant and imminent threat as if you have a sword hanging precariously over your head, ready to fall at any moment. It alludes to the legend of Damocles, a servile courtier to King Dionysius I of Syracuse. The king, weary of Damocles' obsequious flattery, invited him to a banquet and seated him under a sword hung by a single hair, so as to point out to him the precariousness of his position."

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