French legal aid association Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) has discontinued its legal repre-sentation of more than 1,000 civil parties at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, according to an official court publication.
In its monthly report, dated April 11, the court said ASF was forced to end its official representation of 1,130 Khmer Rouge victims due to “financial difficulties”.
“ASF France has no choice but to acknowledge the lack of funding from the international community and institutional donors to support the ECCC [Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia],” an ASF statement was quoted as saying in the report.
Nonetheless, ASF – which has been active at the tribunal since 2008 – went on to thank its donors, saying their “supports have been of tremendous importance to put an end to the impunity of former Khmer Rouge high officials”.
Some of the ASF lawyers will continue to represent their clients in a personal capacity, the report notes, a situation confirmed by a court official who spoke on the condition of anonymity yesterday.
ASF “is not the one that signs the [power of attorney] with the civil parties; it’s the lawyers”, the official said, adding that all civil parties still have legal representation, and even those whose international lawyers are leaving are represented by Cambodian lawyers. ASF did not immediately respond to requests for comment.