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Lemonde bias claims continue

Lemonde bias claims continue

DEFENCE lawyers for former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary have prepared a new request for the disqualification of International Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde in response to bias allegations.

International co-lawyer Michael Karnavas said the filing was submitted Friday, two days after the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected a similar request based on allegations made by a former staffer that Lemonde expressed a preference for inculpatory evidence.

The new request centres on allegations – made by the same staffer, Wayne Bastin, former chief of the Intelligence and Analysis Unit of the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges – that Lemonde compromised the confidentiality of his office’s work and communicated inappropriately with a prosecution expert. Those allegations were originally included in a supplement to the first disqualification request, but the Pre-Trial Chamber declined to consider them before ruling last week.

The lawyers also plan to file this week a request for the Pre-Trial Chamber to hold a hearing on communications between the OCIJ and the prosecution expert, Craig Etcheson. Bastin said in a December 2 witness statement that international members of the OCIJ were given a document from Etcheson on avenues of inquiry, a document about which the defence claims not to have been informed.

Karnavas said by email Sunday that the document could be seen as evidence that “Etcheson is schooling the OCIJ on how and where to investigate”.

Etcheson declined to comment Sunday, as did UN court spokesman Lars Olsen, who said it was “absolutely absurd and outrageous that I’m asked to make a comment about a filing which has not yet been filed”.

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