Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KRT defence supports probe

KRT defence supports probe

KRT defence supports probe

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

The head of defence at the Khmer Rouge tribunal has warned that if nothing is done to resolve the issue of corruption, it will hang over the court's head forever.

Photo by:
Photo supplied

Duch and his lawyer Francois Roux in discussion during the court's preparatory meeting on Friday.

THE head of the defence section of the Khmer Rouge tribunal has thrown his support behind a criminal investigation into corruption at the court, warning that a litigious attempt by Cambodian judges to block the probe smacks of intimidation and threatens to tarnish the process.

"This could look like an attempt to intimidate defence lawyers into not providing rigorous defence or ensuring a fair trial for their client," Richard Rogers, interim chief of the defence support section, told the Post Friday.

"The only way to resolve the issue of corruption is through a full, proper and transparent investigation," he said, adding that he supports an investigation by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court into such allegations, which began after a defence team at the court made a complaint against the Extraordinary Chamber's administrators.

"It's clear the Cambodian government doesn't want to investigate [allegations], so there are few other choices left," he said.

Speaking in response to a statement on January 9 in which Cambodian judges at the internationally backed tribunal threatened the lawyers who made the civil complaint with "legal recourse", Rogers said he was concerned that such dialogue created an environment of intimidation that could impact the willingness of witnesses to come forward.

"If [witnesses] see judges publicly threatening lawyers, they might be less likely to come forward. It is important for judges to create an environment in which witnesses feel comfortable to come forward and help find the truth," he added Sunday.

Trial date still looms

On Friday, the tribunal concluded a two-day preparatory meeting for its first trial, that of Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, charged for his role as head of Tuol Sleng prison.

The meeting likely set a date for the trial, expected in March, but details are not expected until later this week.

Rogers said it was to everyone's benefit, including victims of the regime, for the issue of corruption to finally be put to bed.

"Unless [the issue of corruption] is resolved, the court will forever have it hanging over its head, [and] it will remain a major criticism of the court."

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to