In a closed-door meeting yesterday, the Khmer Rouge tribunal discussed assertions from the Khieu Samphan defence that it has insufficient resources to both attend hearings in the recently begun Case 002/02 and simultaneously prepare its appeal in Case 002/01.
Though the defence’s claims formed part of its reasoning for boycotting further hearings in the new trial until it has submitted its appeal in the first, trial chamber judges yesterday questioned why the defence had not requested additional resources until this month.
With the defence absent due to their boycott, judges instead put questions to representatives from the court’s Office of Administration and Defence Support Section (DSS).
Judge Jean-Marc Lavergne attempted to discern how much time Samphan defenders Arthur Vercken and Anta Guisse had spent outside of Cambodia since the Case 002/01 judgement was issued, and whether the working hours reflected in their recent monthly reports “correspond[ed] to half-time work”.
In response, DSS head Isaac Endeley said that he hadn’t counted the days the team had spent away but noted that they had left for a period. As for the work reports, he added, they “corresponded clearly to a full-time workload for the Khieu Samphan defence team”.
Since defence team budgets only allow for one international lawyer, he added, Guisse and Vercken share one salary.
Judge Claudia Fenz also asked whether the budget could support two sets of lawyers per client, a system that deputy administration head Knut Rosandhaug said he did not “envision . . . but if the trial chamber so directs, we will implement that situation”.
Samphan defender Vercken yesterday called the tenor of the meeting, which he was briefed on later, “ridiculous and very aggressive,” noting that he was perfectly capable of working on the case from his office in France – “We are in 2014,” he noted – and refuted the bench’s assertion that his team had only recently sought additional resources.
“We asked for supplementary resources since months [ago],” he said.
Only 45 minutes of yesterday’s meeting were made public, and court legal communications officer Lars Olsen said he was unable to comment on what was discussed outside of that window.