Denouement Awaited in Discussion about Internal Rules

Posted by khmernews on March 30, 2007

Rules Committee which is in charge of making rules for the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia will complete its discussion tomorrow and there will be a press conference as well if a suitable breakthrough is found. In contrary, the ECCC will issue a simple press release in case the deadlock cannot come to an end.

Yesterday, 48 hours before the completion of the meeting, Mr. Peter Foster, the spokesperson of the ECCC, expressed his “cautious optimism.”

Although there has been a disagreement between Cambodian and international judges since the start of the discussion within the rules committee, Mr. Peter Foster highlighted, “The important thing is case defending.” Therefore, the success of this “nth” meeting mainly depend on whether or not a proposal made by the Cambodian Bar Association [CBA] last week accepted. International lawyers will be allowed to defend cases in the tribunal if they register with the CBA. Each international lawyer is required to pay US$500 for registration fee. Moreover, if those international lawyers are selected to defend clients in the tribunal, each of them will pay another US$2,000 and monthly US$200 to the CBA. Defense lawyers will be selected according to a number of simple criteria, said Mr. Ky Tech, the President of the CBA, adding that they will be demised if their behavior is inappropriate.

The CBA has considered that its proposal will contribute to the great progress of the tribunal and shows that the CBA has softened its stance. However, there have been a lot of points that make international side unhappy. For example, it has been said that it is a kind of discrimination and a number of international lawyers will hesitate because the money the CBA requires them to pay is too much. That the CBA has had legal rights to remove any lawyers for their inappropriate behavior will give this institution more power in the next selection process. The international judges suggested that the ECCC select and nominate international lawyers itself without asking for advice from the CBA. Now, the international judges have come to a conclusion that the CBA’s integrity must respect a law which says that it is not in a bar association’s power to select international lawyers for a trial.

A France-based Committee of Khmer Rouge Victims on the 5th of March wrote a letter to Mr. Ban Ki-moon, a newly-nominated UN Secretary-General. In the letter, the committee criticized that it is a complete waste of time and energy to work on such internal rules. The committee analyzed that Cambodian integrity has been abused due to the fact that the ECCC’s judges has been interfering into the affairs of rule makers. The committee advised all lawyers to function as real lawyers. This means that they are not rule makers but lawyers. Mr. Chhay Hok Pheng, the president of the Committee of Khmer Rouge Victims, said, “It is unacceptable that the tribunal was created 7 months ago but the tribunal investigating judges have done nothing with the case of Kang Kek Ieu, alias Duch, who has been detained 8 years already. He went on to say, “Making a law is political activities, so it is not surprising that the judges of the rules committee disagree with each other. And it is not important at all that we give supports to any sides. Observers and the majority of the Cambodian people said that all judges of the tribunal should start their work immediately to improve the public image of the tribunal and to stop the temporary detention of Duch carrying on from day to day.”

(Informal translation)
-Extracted from: Cambodge Soir, Vol. 12, #2648, Thursday 15 March 2007.         


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