The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Defense Support Section, the Cambodian Bar Association and the International Bar Association will together offer a training course in international criminal law for 60 young Cambodian lawyers from Monday to March 16.
“The training is being jointly organized and jointly presented, which is a much easier way for things to go forward,” Rupert Skilbeck, principal defender at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, said in an interview Monday.
The IBA and the ECCC tried to offer a similar training course in November but it was scuttled by the Cambodian Bar Association. The Cambodian bar said at the time that the course had bypassed Cambodian bar officials and violated the law.
Ly Tayseng, secretary-general of the Cambodian bar, said Monday that this time round, the training is in full compliance with the law.
“We have been fully cooperating together,” he said.
He said the Cambodian bar council had agreed to the panel of experts and reviewed the content of the training to ensure that it was not tainted by politics or religion.
IBA executive director Mark Ellis wrote in an e-mail that he was pleased his organization was able to move forward with the training.
“I have always felt that the legal profession in Cambodia would benefit from such training,” he wrote.
IBA and the US-based Open Society Institute will pay for the training, which is expected to cost $15,000 to $20,000, Ellis said.
Skilbeck said three of five international instructors had been confirmed.
Michail Wladimiroff, lead defense council for Dusko Tadic, who was found guilty of crimes against humanity and other offenses by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague, will attend, Skilbeck said. So will Stuart Alford, a prosecutor at East Timor’s tribunal, and Gillian Higgins, a defense lawyer for the late Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Yugoslavia.
Skilbeck said foreign panelists would have their expenses covered but would receive no speaking fee. Ly Tayseng said participants would not be paid to attend the training, though some travel expenses might be covered.
“The training is very important for our lawyers to prepare them to participate in the ECCC,” he said.
The Defense Support Section and the Cambodian bar are planning another training session later this month for more experienced lawyers, to be conducted in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley, Skilbeck and Ly Tayseng said.