Khmernews

Internal Rules Not yet Adopted and Training for Lawyers Cancelled

Posted by khmernews on December 13, 2006

A report by the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), dated on Saturday [25 November], in order to inform about the cancellation of a press conference that was planned to hold on Saturday evening to publicly announce its internal rules said that the ECCC conducted a plenary session meeting; however, it has not yet adopted its internal rules as it scheduled.

During a recent week-long meeting, judges and prosecutors have had time to discuss only one third of about 110 rules, and a number of basic differences has also been raised.

The disagreement is because of a number of key issues which have been under discussion. These key issues are: “How to integrate Cambodian law and international standard; the role of the Defendants Support Unit including the issue of how defense lawyers will be qualified; the role of Co-prosecutors and its impact on the voting procedure; how the extraordinary court will operate within the Cambodian court structure.” The report stressed that a committee in charge of reviewing the draft internal rules will continue its work from now on until the next plenary session in an effort to find a path toward resolving the differences. Mr. Reach Sambath, an ECCC spokesperson, said that the next plenary session was scheduled to hold in January.

“To achieve such substantive issues in a period of one week is too far ambitious,” said Mr. Peter Foster, an ECCC spokesperson, on this weekend. He continued that a number of organizations, such as Amnesty International instructed that the ECCC should not rush to pass the draft because they are crucial conditions that can enable the tribunal to process smoothly.

Even though the delay was not a big surprise, there have been a number of people who have mentioned connection of politics with the adoption process of these rules. Mr. Isame Mosa, ADHOC Khmer Rouge Project Coordinator, said that civil society organizations welcomed the draft internal rules that the extraordinary tribunal had submitted to them. He also mentioned problems that recently happened within the Cambodian Bar Association.

Mr. Ky Tech, the newly-appointed President of Cambodian Bar Association, recently mentioned the national sovereignty in an attempt to allow his Bar Association to have more voices in the list of lawyers for defendants in the extraordinary tribunal.

Mr. Isam Mosa added, “There has been an attempt to open a negotiation again about an agreement between the United Nations and Phnom Penh government, aiming at discussing on international standard of the tribunal. For him, if any individual mentions the preponderance of sovereignty, it means that they attempt to delay the discussion about technical procedures. “We don’t believe that it will become a politically-motivated issue. It is extremely dismaying. That the international counterpart doesn’t surrender to this pressure is a positive sign. Surrender means we agree to accept an unfair trial, which is just a play and factionalism; as a result, the victims benefit nothing,” he added. “It is unacceptable that Mr. Ky Tech warned to remove any attorney who attend the training organized by the Defendants Support Unit in this week from the Cambodian Bar Association.” An ADHOC representative said, “We have to find justice, so we can usher in a new chapter of our country’s history.”

A day before the cancellation of ECCC press conference, an information source said that the training for Cambodian attorneys co-organized by the Defendants Support Unit of ECCC and International Bar Association (IBA) in this week was cancelled when the Cambodian Bar Association had ordered all attorneys to boycott the training. In a statement, dated on last Friday, the International Bar Association said that Mr. Ky Tech publicly warned that an action would be taken against any attorney who supported and attended the training. The IBA emphasized that it had ever denied CBA’s proposal asking to control the selection of participants and speakers for the training. The prohibition by the CBA is part of a wider scheme of opposition designed to obstruct the operation of the tribunal,” the IBA said. “In consequent, the IBA has cancelled the training program.”

The IBA affirmed that the training program was intended to train Cambodian lawyers in awareness of International criminal laws and international standard of the tribunal. International important judges directly participating in the international trial should have experiences…” Mr. Mark Ellis, the IBA’s Executive Director. “It was unacceptable that the CBA tried to obstruct a good will to improve the quality of legal services and the administration of justice in Cambodia.”

Extracted from:  Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.13, #2904, Tuesday 28 November 2006

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