The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) has announced new requirements for professional foreign lawyers who are working at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to register with the BAKC for certificates authorising them to practice law in the kingdom, according to a notice dated December 18.

“Foreign lawyers who fulfil the required conditions in accordance with the internal rules of the ECCC must submit application forms for registration via defence support units or victim support units,” the decision said.

Support units must examine and accurately translate English-language documents into Khmer then submit completed application forms to the BAKC. After receiving submissions, the BAKC will reply within 30 days.

Foreign lawyers approved by the BAKC must pay a $500 fee to finalise their registration and the listing of their names as counsel in conjunction with pertinent cases. They must take an oath before the Appeal Court and attend hearings in accordance with the court’s schedule.

Attorneys who have previously registered with the BAKC and wish to renew their listing must hold a valid certification to certify that he/she is registered with another UN member state. They must also apply for renewal at least 15 days prior to expiry of their current certification. Foreign lawyers who are currently registered must provide relevant documents as per the revised regulations to the BAKC by January 31 of next year.

The BAKC stated that in cases where a foreign lawyer had applied for registration without paying the fee, or had failed to submit complete documentation, the names would be stricken from the registration list.

In 2018, the BAKC decided to delete the name of Victor Koppe, a defence lawyer for the late Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, from the list after it found that the validation of his professional practice in the Netherlands where he registered at the Bar Association of Amsterdam had expired in 2016.

BAKC president Ly Chantola explained that the new registration policy revises previous conditions which required a $50 certification charge and a $250 annual member fee. The new procedure entails the one-time $500 registration fee.

“When [foreign attorneys] apply to renew their registration certificates, we won’t charge them again. Another change to the policy is a more detailed registration procedure that is intended to be more easily executed,” he said.

ECCC spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on December 20 that there are three active cases at the ECCC, including the ongoing trial for Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, and the procedures against Meas Muth and Yim Tith. All international lawyers in those cases must register with the BAKC.