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KR expert declines to take stand

KR expert declines to take stand

Tribunal snub

Stephen Heder, who once worked for the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, has declined a court request to testify as an expert, a letter from Heder released yesterday on the court’s website shows.

Heder, considered a leading scholar of Khmer Rouge history, declined to comment on his decision yesterday. Heder left the court in 2011, writing in an email that he had disagreed with the judges’ decision to close Case 003 “effectively without investigating it, which I, like others, believe was unreasonable”.

Panhavuth Long, a program officer at the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said Heder’s decision left him “very surprised because of his long career and interest in pursuing the historical study of the Khmer Rouge.”

As to the possibility that Heder might appear before the court in another capacity or for any potential future trials beyond the current Case 002, court spokesman Lars Olsen said he “couldn’t predict the future” but thought it unlikely.

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