Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Examine interview sessions: Ieng Sary team

Examine interview sessions: Ieng Sary team

Examine interview sessions: Ieng Sary team

In at least 12 cases, Khmer Rouge tribunal investigators interviewed witnesses off the record, raising concerns over the reliability of their testimony and the intentions of the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges (OCIJ), the defence for Ieng Sary said this weekend.

Lawyers for Sary, who have repeatedly sought to shed light on the practice, on Friday filed a request for a public hearing on “the OCIJ’s widespread and systematic practice of conducting unrecorded interviews with witnesses”.

In motions and in court, defence teams have drawn attention in recent months to the revelation that some witnesses were interviewed off-record by investigators before returning to hold “official” interviews. Doing so, they contend, is a violation of the court’s internal rules, which stipulate that a written record be made of every interview.

The Sary team has been especially forceful, contending in a number of filings that the practice is not only a violation of the court’s internal rules, but a grave breach of fair trial rights.

The request for a public hearing is the strongest motion yet, noting that, in addition to the four cases over which defence teams have already sought clarification, 12 other instances of unrecorded witness interviews have been found.

In an email, lead co-lawyer Michael Karnavas said the number was likely far higher than that which had been uncovered thus far. “In total thus far we have come across around 20 questionable interviews; we suspect there are lots more.”

The widespread nature of the practice, lawyers argue in the filing, demonstrates it “was not an aberration from the OCIJ’s normal investigative procedure, but was in fact a widespread and systematic practice”.

In the filing, the defence team outline the investigators’ routine, noting that they frequently met “informally” with witnesses before holding official interviews in which the records insinuate both parties are meeting for the first time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Abby Seiff at [email protected]


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman