Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Twitter key in judge's rejection

Twitter key in judge's rejection

Twitter key in judge's rejection

120130_03a

The Supreme Council of the Magistracy is of the view that UN-nominated reserve international co-investigating judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet is “compromising the confidentiality and integrity of investigations” and has violated judicial ethics with his use of Twitter, the council said in a summary report issued on Saturday.

Photos supplied
Khmer Rouge tribunal reserve co-investigating judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet (left) has been rejected from assuming his official judiciary duties with co-investigating judge You Bunleng (right).

The report, issued by the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, states that the council met on January 13 to “vote and count the ballots concerning the proposed appointment of the International Co-Investigating Judge”.

“According to the results […] the members of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy decided not to appoint Mr Laurent Kasper-Ansermet,” the report, dated January 13, stated.

“Following discussion, the meeting reached the view that Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet’s posting of a considerable number of documents on his Twitter account concerning the ECCC, and specifically concerning cases 003 and 004 since his appointment as Reserve International Co-Investigating Judge, would appear to violate the Code of Judicial Ethics, the Internal Rules and legal principles” of the tribunal, the council said in the report.

According to the report, Kasper-Ansermet’s distribution of information in the form of posting links to various news articles was in violation of several principles of the tribunal.

The council said that Kasper-Ansermet’s posting of articles relating to the tribunal constituted “criticising both of his own colleagues, Co-Investigating Judges You Bunleng and Siegfried Blunk”.

Bunleng and Blunk came under fire after they closed investigations into the government-opposed Case 003 in April, without having conducted key elements of investigation such as interviewing the suspects.

A mass staff walkout over the investigations ensued and Blunk abruptly resigned in October, citing perceptions of government interference in cases 003 and 004 as his motivation.

“Furthermore, this distribution could have an adverse impact and cause confusion or doubts regarding [his/her] impartiality,” the council said, adding in bold font that it could also “undermine the standing and integrity of the ECCC”.

Court monitor Open Society Justice Initiative’s Clair Duffy said the real concerns about independence were with the Supreme Council of the Magistracy itself.

“The ECCC’s national co-prosecutor, Chea Leang, and national co-investigating judge, You Bunleng, both sit on the SCM and were part of that decision-making process,” Duffy said.

“So not only did the SCM act outside its authority on this issue, there are also obvious concerns around its independence.”

The Supreme Council of the Magistracy is not a proper forum to challenge the impartiality of any ECCC judge, Duffy said, adding that proper procedure was for a party to the proceedings to bring a motion for disqualification of a judge.

UN-appointed Special Expert at the tribunal, David Scheffer, said in a press conference on Wednesday that the decision to appoint the judge was strictly up to the discretion of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, not the Supreme Council of the Magistracy.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • Chinese living in Kingdom more than doubles since ’17

    The number of Chinese nationals living in Cambodia this year has increased to more than 210,000. The figure rose from last year’s 100,000, the newly appointed Secretary of State Sok Phal confirmed yesterday. He said: “Of the 210,000, more than 78,000 are living in Preah Sihanouk [province], but