THE co-investigating judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal issued warnings to the lawyers of former Democratic Kampuchea foreign minister Ieng Sary on Thursday.
In the order, posted on the tribunal’s Web site, judges cited three filings made earlier this month by the Ieng Sary defence team, and said defence lawyers Ang Udom and Michael Karnavas were prohibited from conducting their own investigations in the court’s second case, filing on issues already addressed by the judges and publicising filings without authorisation.
If such conduct continues, judges may choose to issue sanctions. According to the court’s internal rules, sanctions may take the form of a referral of the misconduct to the lawyers’ respective bar associations or a ban on their appearances before the court.
Such a ban could be either temporary or permanent, UN court spokesman Lars Olsen said.
In addressing the issue of repetitive filings, the judges noted the need to avoid obstructions in the case.
“The age and health situation of the charged persons … mandates all parties to operate as efficiently as possible,” the order read.
“It is in the interests of justice to maintain judicial economy and not waste the resources dedicated to this judicial process.”
Karnavas said Thursday that his team had merely been requesting information from the co-investigating judges in the filings in question, adding that they had “never sought to circumvent or abuse the rules” of the court.
“We will continue pressing the [Office of the Co-investigating Judges] to the extent we believe is relevant and necessary,” he said. “When transparency is permissible and appropriate, we will not shy away from engaging the public in these historic proceedings.”