Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan appeal verdicts

Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan appeal verdicts

Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan appeal verdicts

The Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan defence teams formally appealed the verdict in the recently wrapped Case 002/01 at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, with each laying out myriad grievances with the lengthy trial that saw the two defendants handed life sentences in August.

Though lengthier documents are to follow, the Nuon Chea team nonetheless listed 223 alleged errors in the court’s conduct of the case and in its judgement against its client, including nearly 20 errors "concerning the legitimacy and fairness of the proceedings”.

“The Case 002/01 Judgment contorts the evidence and the applicable legal standards in a concerted, result-oriented effort to maximize Nuon Chea’s criminal liability and demonize the leadership of the CPK,” the filing reads. “Accordingly, the Judgment not only fails to respect Nuon Chea’s fundamental right to a fair trial, it calls into question the legitimacy of an institution clearly less concerned with ascertaining truth than with writing the final chapter of a propaganda campaign on behalf of Nuon Chea’s political opponents.”

The document goes on to assert that the court’s national judges had been unduly influenced by their own experiences under the regime, that errors in the use of evidence “pervade the Judgement”, and that the court had “flagrantly” violated its own rules by cherry-picking supposedly inadmissible evidence from outside the trial’s strictly enforced temporal jurisdiction.

In its own 30-page riposte to the trial chamber’s ruling, the Samphan defence said their client’s right to a fair trial had been “violated” by the court’s “numerous errors”.

According to the defence, the prosecution incorrectly presumed Samphan’s personal responsibility and detailed knowledge of events like the evacuation of Phnom Penh and the executions at Tuol Po Chrey given that the Khmer Rouge regime’s secretive “Party Centre” was a blurry and ever-shifting group of people.

“The Chamber committed a factual error by stating that the evacuation of Phnom Penh was done by homogenous armed forces [operating] in a unified chain of command under the control of the ‘Party Centre”, the filing reads.

The defence also accused the prosecution of not taking into account the context of the time, such as the US bombing of Cambodia, Vietnamese and Chinese power games and Samphan’s desire to “reform from the top in a gentle [manner]” prior to 1970.

The prosecution also filed a notice of appeal yesterday, but rather than taking issue with the factual findings of the verdict, they argued that the court should permit the use of a broader form of joint criminal enterprise liability, the mode of responsibility under which the defendants were found guilty.

With the broader form, the court would be able to hold the defendants responsible not only for crimes they and their peers explicitly planned to commit, but also all reasonably foreseeable crimes that happened as a result of that plan.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Bumpy road for local ride apps

    Ride-hailing services seem to have grown into a dominant player in the capital’s transportation sector. Relatively unknown and little used in the Kingdom at the beginning of this year, services like PassApp, Grab and ExNet are now commonplace on Phnom Penh streets. However, the

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in