The legal team of former Khmer Rouge navy commander Meas Muth, charged with crimes against humanity in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Case 003, has requested in a filing to join the debate surrounding the use of “torture-tainted” evidence in the court’s current Case 002/02.
Speaking yesterday in Phnom Penh, Michael Karnavas international lawyer for Muth, who was charged in absentia in March along with Case 004 suspect Im Chaem, said he would argue in a written statement that information extracted under torture should not be admissible outside the exceptions provided for in the Convention Against Torture.
“Torture-tainted evidence should not be admitted, period, for whatever reason,” Karnavas said, adding an amicus brief would be given to the court if their submission was rejected.
“Whatever decision is made here, will obviously impact us in 003 and the same thing in 004, we want to be heard.”
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia is currently considering the admissibility of torture-tainted evidence in the current case against former Khmer Rouge senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
In court last month, Chea’s lawyer, Victor Koppe, argued that not all evidence extracted under torture is inherently unreliable, and that such evidence should be allowed under certain circumstances.
Rejecting Koppe’s assertions, the prosecution argued instead for its own set of exceptions, saying interrogation records, including notes and annotations, could be used to establish victim’s biographical details and to ascertain whether those implicated during torture were then arrested.
Under Article 15 of the Torture Convention, the use of torture-tainted evidence should be restricted to cases in which the defendant is accused of torture, and only to prove that the statement was made.
Yesterday, Karnavas also rejected the Office of Co-Investigating Judges’ assertion – included in the recent ECCC completion plan – that his client’s refusal to respond to a summons caused a delay of six months.