Khmernews

5TH PLENARY SESSION OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS

Posted by khmernews on March 6, 2009

5TH PLENARY SESSION OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS

CLOSING PRESS STATEMENT

Friday 6 March 2009

Between Monday 2 March 2009 and Friday 6 March 2009, the ECCC held its 5th Plenary Session at the Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh.

The principal purpose of the Plenary Session was to deliberate upon proposed amendments to thirty of the ECCC’s Internal Rules. Amendments were adopted in relation to twenty-seven of these Rules.  Many of these amendments reflect efforts at harmonisation or other minor technical improvements.

The amendments adopted are designed to streamline and expedite court proceedings before all Chambers of the ECCC. They include the following:

  • expediting the accreditation of Investigators;
  • expediting procedures for calling witnesses, previously a minimum of five days summons and appearance before a Chamber;
  • determining that a Reserve Judge’s illness or inability to attend proceedings should not prevent the Chamber from proceeding;
  • clarifying the power of the Chamber regarding additional witnesseses or evidence
  • removing the requirement that final judgment be delivered within 90 days of the final hearing in a case, considering the complex and voluminous cases before the ECCC;
  • specifying that where Civil Parties are represented by a lawyer, it is the lawyer and not the Civil Parties themselves who must make legal submissions before the Court. The amendments do not limit the rights of Civil Parties but instead, modify the manner in which these rights are to be exercised, due to the extremely large number of Civil Parties before ECCC proceedings, and the impracticability of concluding trials expeditiously if all Civil Parties were allowed to intervene on any matter at any stage of proceedings.  These amendments do not apply where a Civil Party is being interviewed, and do not prevent a Civil Party from answering questions put to him or her by the Chamber;
  • clarifying and harmonising appeals before the Supreme Court Chamber. These amendments are made in advance of the Supreme Court Chamber becoming operational, and are designed to ensure maximum readiness of that Chamber to manage its case load.

During its final day, the Plenary Session was briefed by the Senior Court Management Officer and the Head of the Victims Unit regarding a number of trial management challenges posed by the participation of a large number of victims in ECCC proceedings. The significant involvement of victims is a notable feature of ECCC proceedings and the Court’s practice in this area is expected to be watched closely by other international Tribunals, in particular the International Criminal Court, whose Statute and Rules contain similar provisions.  A brief presentation was also given on outreach and media relations by the Chief of Public Affairs.

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