Lawyers for Brother No 2 Nuon Chea have filed a request calling for summary action against Minister for Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong for recent remarks in and to the media about witness testimony in Case 002, which the lawyers consider wilful interference with justice and “chutzpah indeed”.
On July 31, witness Rochoem Tun testified under oath that Namhong “was in charge of the Boeng Trabek detention centre”, a statement he later recanted in local media reports.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party minister issued a public statement on August 2 in which he criticised unnamed persons for trying “to deflect attention from themselves and their cases, by way of stirring up controversy around public figures like myself”.
In the filing, Nuon Chea’s lawyers frame Namhong’s remarks as an attempt to unduly interfere with justice and request a public condemnation of Namhong’s actions as well as a warning that future actions would be met with strict reprimand.
Speaking by email yesterday, one of Nuon Chea’s lawyers, Andrew Ianuzzi, told the Post: “We will shortly file a follow-up submission with the Trial Chamber regarding the concrete effects of the Foreign Minister’s recent public display of anger over what he considers unpleasant ... testimony emerging from the trial.”
The lawyers have long sought the testimony of Namhong and other senior government officials who have flouted tribunal summonses by investigating judges in Case 002.
“Perhaps less well known is the fact that Hor Namhong’s name appears several times in the Case 002 Closing Order,” the lawyers wrote in their filing.
Previous out-of-court comments by Namhong in 1991 are used “on at least eight separate occasions to buttress the accusation contained in the indictment against Nuon Chea”, the lawyers wrote, adding that Namhong has “aggressively” rebuked with defamation lawsuits any parties who have connected him with management or oversight of the Boeng Trabek prison during the Khmer Rouge regime.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]