The trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal issued an order to legal teams on Tuesday, setting deadlines for the provision of lists of proposed witnesses – among other documents – and hinting that Case 002/02, which still has no official start date, will get under way sometime after June 9.
After instructing teams to file lists of witnesses by May 9; objections to witnesses, lists of proposed documents and a list of exhibits by May 30; and an agreed-upon list of uncontested facts by June 6, the chamber told parties to “also provide an indication of any legal issues they intend to raise at the Initial Hearing no later than Monday, 9 June 2014”.
Victims have long lobbied for the upcoming case to start as soon as possible, and Panhavuth Long, program officer for the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said that while he had heard a rumoured start date of September, “even if it’s June or July, it’s late”.
“I think the judges know that justice delayed is justice denied, and many victims are waiting, so I think the sooner the better,” he said. “But in the meantime, the trial chamber judges need to provide information on when Case 002/02 will start.”
Panhavuth went on to say that he had heard rumours that some international judges were unsure whether they would continue on with Case 002/02, another source of potential delays.
“International judges, if they’re going to stay, need to make their decision” so the court can start preparing, he added. “Their continued silence on the issue may cause delays in the procedure.”
The prosecution has also called for a speedy start in the past, and prosecutor William Smith yesterday welcomed the call for documents, saying they would ensure efficiency in a hopefully timely trial.
“As to the promptness of the start of this trial, it is still unclear when the trial will in fact begin,” he said in an email. “We look forward to a start date of the trial being set soon due to the accused’s age, their right to a speedy trial and the overall cost of the court’s operation.”