Document Investigation Dampens Defense’s Pond Protests

An investigation into how secret defense documents ended up in a pond outside the Khmer Rouge tribunal has ended with no evidence of criminal activity, a court spokes­man told a news conference on Wednesday.

Last week, international lawyers for defendant Nuon Chea said that they had found confidential papers from their office, supposedly destined for the shredder, floating in a pool of water. Lars Olsen, a UN spoke­s­man for the court, said Wed­nesday that the incident had been thoroughly probed.

“There is no evidence to substantiate any allegations of foul play or theft,” he said.

A final report outlining the circumstances leading to the bizarre incident will not be made publicly available for security reasons, he added.

The report will also offer recommendations for reinforcing security, Mr Olsen said, in particular, “how the defense team better can handle their office and their document security.”

He stressed that, “Each office is responsible for their own security.”

Andrew Ianuzzi, a consultant for the Nuon Chea defense team, at­tended the news conference Wed­nes­day, and said he was surprised to hear that his office was responsible for the security of its documents.

“That’s certainly not something we’ve ever heard before today,” he said by telephone Wednesday. “It sounds like they’re blaming the victims,” he said. “I can’t think of anything that we would have done out of order.”

However, he added that he was not surprised by the outcome of the investigation.

“We certainly weren’t expecting them to find hard evidence of foul play,” Mr Ianuzzi said. “We certainly weren’t expecting them to find any fingerprints on the documents.”

Still, he said he was troubled by the implications of the security breach. “At best, it’s negligence on the part of the administration.”

Mr Ianuzzi said the defense team was looking into new procedures for dealing with confidential papers. “For now, we’ve got all our sensitive documents locked in a cabinet.”

After the press conference on Wednesday, Richard Rogers, head of the Defense Support Section for the court, said that he had put in a request with the court for six new shredders for the defense section-one for his own office, and one for each of the court’s five defense teams.


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