Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nuon Chea lawyer tossed from courtroom

Nuon Chea lawyer tossed from courtroom

Nuon Chea lawyer tossed from courtroom

In a development that raised few eyebrows among long-time court observers, the Khmer Rouge tribunal Trial Chamber accused Nuon Chea co-counsel Andrew Ianuzzi of contempt of court yesterday, expelling him from the courtroom for the afternoon’s proceedings.

Ianuzzi – who is frequently on the receiving end of pointed admonishments from the bench – was pursuing a line of questioning pertaining to the regime’s K5 Plan to create a heavily mined border between Cambodia and Thailand, when his microphone was cut. In the past, Ianuzzi has tried to raise the plan in court, saying Prime Minister Hun Sen may bear responsibility for the resulting deaths.

His microphone restored, Ianuzzi began paraphrasing the 1964 film Seven Days in May, which features a soft-ball US Senate hearing, likening the “staged” court proceedings to a bad operetta.

Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn responded by saying it was “obvious that the lawyer is intending to obstruct the proceedings”, and ultimately ordered security to escort Ianuzzi out.  

“In my own boorish way, I’m only suggesting that if the Trial Chamber judges continue to work from a script with cues and stage direction, these proceedings take on all of the dignity of a very bad Gilbert and Sullivan,” Ianuzzi said in an interview after the hearing.

He also offered a number of theories on why he had been expelled yesterday, as opposed to the numerous other times he’d been chastised by the bench.

“I think they’re sick and tired of me talking about the major problems with the trial,” Ianuzzi said. “Or maybe they’re just really annoyed by me.”

According to Open Society Justice Initiative tribunal monitor Clair Duffy, Ianuzzi’s relationship with the Trial Chamber had “definitely worsened over the course of this year”, but it was still unclear whether there would be more disciplinary action to come.

“It doesn’t seem that they’ve permanently refused him right of audience, but that’s not entirely clear from the oral exchanges,” Duffy said via email. “It seems akin to a teacher telling a kid to stand in the corner for the day, rather than expelling him from the school.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Stuart White at [email protected] ; Joe Freeman at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the