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Defence won’t present docs

Accused Nuon Chea watches court proceedings on a screen last week in Phnom Penh at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02.
Accused Nuon Chea watches court proceedings on a screen last week in Phnom Penh at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02. ECCC

Defence won’t present docs

Both the Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea defence teams yesterday confirmed they would abstain from making document presentations a day after the trial chamber ruled that the prosecution’s use of written witness statements – which the teams considered inappropriate – was indeed permissible.

Samphan defender Anita Guisse, relayed that neither team would be presenting, ostensibly in silent protest of the ruling against the previous objections from the Chea defence.

Last week, both teams walked out of hearings after the chamber rebuffed a challenge to the prosecution’s use of the statements, whose evidentiary nature, the defence held, could not be questioned.

Guisse, however, confirmed that her side will, in fact, be providing commentary feedback to the prosecution’s presentation while atypically silent Chea defender, Victor Koppe said “no, we will not”.

Koppe had previously said that, for his team, the decision to bow out of presenting documents hinged on whether the prosecution continued to rely heavily upon the witness statements, called “written records of interviews” (WRIs).

The prosecution and civil party teams, not making any changes to their document list, presented evidence relating to the “1 January” dam, Trapeang Thma dam and Kampong Chhnang airport worksites.

Regarding the “1 January” dam, WRIs placed Democratic Kampuchea leadership – which referred to itself as Angkar – at the worksite, suggesting the accused must have been aware of the atrocities being committed“There were Angkar delegations . . . Pol Pot made two official visits,” read the testimony of a cadre, alias “Vannak”.

Evidence of internal purging of North Zone cadres came in the form of a list of 91 such cadres held at the S-21 prison.

Among the inculpating evidence for the Kampong Chhnang airport were documents describing the regime’s purging “priorities”, as discussed at a meeting that both Chea and Samphan allegedly attended.

Prosecutor William Smith contended that the documents proved the Khmer Rouge viewed that “this dual approach of building whilst purging was neither contradictory nor self-defeating”.

The prosecution finished with evidence relating to the Trapeang Thma dam worksite. Calling upon journalist accounts, WRIs, and Samphan’s own memoir, prosecutor Travis Farr asserted to have demonstrated the party “centre’s knowledge of the conditions, to achieve the party’s plans totally and successfully”.

As document hearings concluded, Guisse made an unrelated objection to the court’s admission of evidence resulting from Case 003 and 004 investigations into the current Case 002/02.

“It’s a problem of being able to review the evidence in its totality” she said.

Nonn adjourned proceedings, stating the court would deliberate on the matter.

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