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Following walkout, Chea defender vows courtroom silence

Nuon Chea (left) and co-lawyer Son Arun (right) follow a trial hearing earlier this year at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
Nuon Chea (left) and co-lawyer Son Arun (right) follow a trial hearing earlier this year at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. ECCC

Following walkout, Chea defender vows courtroom silence

Following a contentious walkout on the first day of appeal hearings for Case 002/01 on Tuesday, appellant Nuon Chea’s national defence lawyer Son Arun yesterday filed a clarification of his position to the Supreme Court Chamber.

The filing summarises the legal debate that took place in the courtroom over whether Arun had a right to leave after he had been given instruction to do so by Chea during a 20-minute speech delivered during the first morning session.

Arun, disregarding the judges’ warnings, was not present during the second morning session on Tuesday, forcing the judges to put the court in recess while they deliberated on how to proceed.

When the judges announced their decision to seek standby counsel and adjourn until further notice in the afternoon, Arun was once again present.

“However, the Chamber ignored my presence and did not give me an opportunity to speak . . . Instead, it ruled that my act might constitute misconduct which could lead to disciplinary sanctions,” he wrote, seemingly suggesting unfair treatment from the court “even though Mr Nuon Chea and I clearly explained the reasons” for the walkout.

Arun concluded that he “will sit in the courtroom in future appeal hearings . . . since the Chamber compels” him, but will follow Chea’s “instruction not to respond to any kind of questions by the judges or other parties”.

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