Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have announced plans to appeal against an order from the court’s investigating judges calling for them to retract a public statement made earlier this month, the latest salvo in the battle over the court’s controversial third case.
Deputy Prosecutor William Smith said yesterday that his office had filed a notice of appeal against the order on Friday to the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber.
Last month, co-investigating judges Siegfried Blunk and You Bunleng announced that they had concluded their investigation in Case 003. This case features former Khmer Rouge navy commander Meas Muth and air force commander Sou Met, though the men’s identities have not yet officially been made public.
In response to this announcement, British co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley issued a statement two weeks ago saying that the case “had not been fully investigated” and listing a series of additional investigative requests for the judges to perform, as he is permitted to do under court rules.
Among these requests were steps, including the questioning of the suspects, that were so basic as to call into question the integrity of the original investigation, leading critics to charge that the judges had bowed to the stiff opposition to Case 003 from Prime Minister Hun Sen and other officials.
In his statement, Cayley also named a number of alleged crime sites – information that had never before been made public – for the benefit of prospective civil party applicants.
In response, Blunk and You Bunleng ordered Cayley last week to publish a retraction, accusing him of illegally disclosing portions of their confidential investigation.
“The International Co-Prosecutor lacked legal basis for making the above mentioned information public, and he also violated the Rule of Confidentiality,” the judges said in a press release on Wednesday.
Cayley was notably not joined in his statement by Cambodian co-prosecutor Chea Leang, who opposes prosecutions beyond the upcoming Case 002.
Smith said last week that Cayley and the investigating judges “obviously have a difference of opinion in terms of his justification” for issuing the statement.
Asked how the prosecution would respond to an order to retract from the Pre-Trial Chamber, Smith said yesterday that his office would “wait till that comes”, adding: “I think the main point is that we would always comply with the orders of the court.”