Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence takes aim at KRT ‘interference’

Defence takes aim at KRT ‘interference’

Defence takes aim at KRT ‘interference’


After holding his tongue during the morning session of the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday,  Nuon Chea defence counsel Michiel Pestman said he was “forced” to speak out about alleged political interference in the court, as no other parties appeared willing to raise it.

{jathumbnail}

Referring to the candid resignation letter tendered by UN-nominated reserve co-investigating judge Laurent Kas­per-Ansermet last week, Pestman said:  “No organ in this court is immune from political meddling by the Cambodian government and . . . this Trial Chamber is no exception.”

Pestman announced he would again file a motion, as he did three times last year, for the Trial Chamber to investigate allegations of political interference in Case 002.

The three filings were rejected last September, and Pestman said he doubted a new filing would achieve a different result.

“Sadly, we do this knowing  our motion will be rejected,” he said, appealing to the two international judges of the Trial Chamber, Silvia Cartwright and Jean-Marc Lavergne, to “save the case” by dissenting from their Cambodian colleagues and encouraging an investigation.

“Every day you fail to act . . . this trial will spiral further away from the ideal the ECCC was designed to promote,” Pestman warned. “There comes a point where silence and inaction and the deliberate avoidance of difficult decisions evolves into complicity.”

Counsel for Khieu Samphan echoed Pestman’s criticisms, saying the “revelations” in Kasper-Ansermet’s note “justify further investigation”.

“The pressure that’s been exercised on this court [has] soiled the work of this court since its establishment,” Arthur Vercken said.

Although absent from this exchange, Ieng Sary defence counsel Michael Karnavas later accused deputy co-prosecutor William Smith of leading the witness, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, and treating his testimony as expert.

“The prosecution wants to turn this gentleman [Duch] into an expert through his testimony. To simply suggest that he [Duch] is this fountain of information .  .  .  is nonsense and ridiculous,” Karnavas said.

Defence counsel have challenged Duch’s testimony on the basis he is recounting post-regime research and not eye-witness accounts.

Duch detailed yesterday the “report lines” within S-21, the notorious prison he has been sentenced to life imprisonment for directing.

Duch said he had had to report to Nuon Chea “every three days or [at the least] once every five days”.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristin Lynch at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group