The defence team for a suspect in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s government-opposed Case 004 filed a motion on Wednesday effectively seeking the termination of proceedings against its client, arguing that the government’s opposition to the embattled case had been right all along.
Citing the court’s mandate to try “those most responsible” for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, co-lawyers Mom Luch and Göran Sluiter said in a statement yesterday that their client did not fall under that distinction, and was therefore not under the jurisdiction of the court.
And though the government has long been accused of stymieing the court by opposing cases 003 and 004, Luch and Sluiter argue that its “controlling position” as a co-founder of the court dictates that its opposition “should not be understood as political interference, but rather, as a progressive understanding of a completion strategy for the Court”.
Cambodia Justice Initiative program officer Long Panhavuth, however, said yesterday that it was “surprising” that the team would argue its client isn’t among those most responsible without having seen the charges against him.
“After the court has its legal guiding documents, it is important that the government cooperate with the court, and not that the court cooperate with the government,” he added.