Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chea team reaffirms boycott

Chea team reaffirms boycott

Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea (centre) in the ECCC courtroom in August
Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea (centre) in the ECCC courtroom in August, where he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment. ECCC

Chea team reaffirms boycott

The defence for Nuon Chea yesterday brushed off a trial chamber warning for misconduct, and reiterated its commitment to an ongoing boycott of the proceedings in Case 002/02 in a closed-door meeting at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, according to Chea defender Victor Koppe.

That commitment was bolstered by a letter from Chea himself expressing his support for his counsel, and his staunch opposition to a prosecution proposal to appoint new temporary counsel to represent him in court for the duration of his chosen attorneys’ boycott.

The defence boycott began at the hearing of opening statements on October 17, when Chea said he would be instructing his lawyers not to appear at hearings until a special judicial panel makes a decision on his application to have four of the sitting judges disqualified.

In his letter to Defence Support Section Head Isaac Endeley on Monday, Chea wrote that he has “no faith in the three national judges and the French judge”.

“It is my firm belief that they are biased and not independent. They should not be the judges in my new trial.”

“Let me be very clear to you. It is my absolute stance that I shall not accept under any circumstances new lawyers,” he continued. “If the court decides to appoint new lawyers, I shall not accept them, and I shall refuse to come to court. Only by use of force shall I attend any hearing.”

Under the court’s internal rules, the trial chamber on Friday issued a warning for misconduct to the Chea and Samphan defences, and threatened to submit the matter to the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia. But Koppe, Chea’s international co-lawyer, main­tained yesterday that the warning had no basis in Cambodian law.

“Here, it’s not possible for a court to issue warnings or sanctions,” he said. “In the civil law system, as far as I can see, they don’t have that.”

“That’s why the trial chamber can only base itself on the internal rules, and our position has always been that the internal rules are just some rules the judges made up,” he added.

Koppe also maintained that it would be “impossible” for the trial chamber to compel his client to accept new representation, a view he said was echoed in yesterday’s meeting.

The meeting also dealt with the Khieu Samphan team’s contention that it has inadequate resources to both draft an appeal in Case 002/01, and represent him in Case 002/02 simultaneously – an assertion that has formed the backbone of the team’s own boycott of the proceedings. Lawyers for Samphan could not be reached.

Court legal communications officer Lars Olsen said yesterday that the subject of the meeting conformed to what was announced by the trial chamber on Friday – namely, issues pertaining to the prosecution’s request for temporary counsel and the Samphan team’s complaint about resources – but declined to comment on the meeting in detail.

“All I can tell you is that both defence teams did appear, as did Khieu Samphan. The trial chamber has instructed us to make their morning session available to the public,” he said. “This will be done [Wednesday] morning, and until then, I can’t comment on it.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the