Khmernews

The Khmer Rouge Trial: Cambodian Justice Depends on $5,000

Posted by khmernews on March 29, 2007

Phnom Penh: The process of the Khmer Rouge trial is now in a precarious stage when there is a confrontation between the Cambodian Bar Association and international judges who have shown the possibility of their withdrawal [from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia] if there is no solution for the problem of non-Cambodian lawyer fees made.

Now Cambodian justice expected to find through the prosecution against the former Khmer Rogue leaders depends on an amount of $4,900 per year.

Ky Tech, president of the Cambodian Bar Association, said on the 25th of March that the CBA has received a letter about the reaction of international judges. This is the first time that the CBA has been threatened through a letter. He warned that the CBA is an independent and free institution and must not be under any pressure from or threatened by any other institution. He continued that they said in the letter that if the CBA does not change its attitudes towards the non-Cambodian lawyer registration fees, the international judges will boycott the adoption of the internal rules. “This is a reaction of young kids and it only puts pressure on the CBA’s rules and Cambodian law,” said Ky Tech.

Claudia Fenz, an international judge in the ECCC, said to AFP recently that the ECCC will be in a dangerous situation, if there is no agreement on non-Cambodian lawyer participation [fees] in the ECCC. She requests the CBA reconsider its decision on the non-Cambodian lawyer fees by March. She continued that the decision is very important for the process of the prosecutions against the Khmer Rouge leaders who are charged for the crimes committed from 1975 to 1979.

The CBA ruled that non-Cambodian lawyers who wish to practice in the court must pay $500 for the registration fee and if selected to represent a client in the court, they have to pay $2000, plus $200 a month in dues. In total, they have to pay $4,900 per year. However, they have chance to get $1000 wage per day or more than $30,000 per month. 

As a result, if the international judges walk out, Cambodian justice or the Khmer Rouge trial will definitely become a “hostage of $4,900”.

(Informal Translation)
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea. Vol.15, #4246.Tuesday, March 27, 2007.

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