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Ta An lawyer battles blockage

Ta An lawyer battles blockage

The international lawyer for Case 004 suspect Ta An has written to the UN undersecretary-general for legal affairs to request that she intervene in what he has called a bad-faith attempt to block his appointment in the government-opposed case.

The subject of defence lawyer Richard Rogers’ accusation are a pair of UN staffers he says have used underhanded tactics to prevent him taking on his proper role.

“Despite the unequivocal support for Judge Kasper-Ansermet from the UN, the [Deputy Director of the Office of Adminstration] and [Defence Support Services] have used their administrative authority to frustrate his judicial acts with respect to the assignment of the Suspect’s choice of counsel, by blocking my appointment and denying support,” Rogers said in a letter released yesterday.

UN employees Knut Rosandhaug, who serves as the deputy director of the office of administration, and Isaac Endeley, chief of the Defence Support Section, are “continuing to flout a court order issued by the former UN-appointed international reserve Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet”, Rogers says in the letter.

According to the letter, Kasper-Ansermet on May 3 issued a Lawyer’s Recognition Decision, but both UN staffers have “refused to respect the Suspect’s choice of counsel or implement the Order”.

According to Rogers, the two UN staffers have exploited the UN/Cambodian divide over former judge Kasper-Ansermet’s authority at the tribunal by asking Cambodian judge You Bunleng to “clarify” Kasper-Ansermet’s order, after the Swiss national had already left the court.

As per his stated position, You Bunleng said “no suspect in Case File 004 has been placed under judicial investigation” and as such, no lawyer can be appointed.

You Bunleng has explicitly said he does not acknowledge any of the judicial acts of the now-resigned Kasper-Ansermet, who began Case 004 investigations and informed the suspects of their rights, including that of counsel, during his time in office.

Legal affairs officer Lars Olsen said the Defence Support Services and Office of Administration had “no views on Mr Richard Rogers’ right to be a legal representative of a suspect in Case 004”.

“If a lawyer wishes to be paid . . . additional requirements have to be met,” Olsen said by email, adding that the DSS had already decided Rogers did not meet these requirements.

In a letter from DSS chief Endeley to Rogers dated May 30, the former cited a conflict of interest and ethical reasons relating to Rogers’ former post as chief of DSS, in explaining his ineligibility to be a court-appointed lawyer for Ta An.

Documentation Center of Cambodia legal adviser Anne Heindel said the procedure to appoint Rogers appeared to be inconsistent with the appointment of other defence counsel.

“These are international staff who have been accused of obstructing the investigation, and that is a matter for the UN that it can address internally,” she pointed out.

Rogers has requested an independent inquiry as part of a UN settlement of the dispute.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]

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