French attorney Francois Roux—who is on the legal team representing Kaing Guek Ieu, also known as Duch, before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia—became the first foreign member of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia on Wednesday morning.
Relations between the bar association and the ECCC have often been strained, and Roux’s swearing-in, which lasted about 10 minutes, evidenced a growing cordiality.
The bar, which has up to a month to consider applications from foreign lawyers, approved Roux’s unanimously only one day after it was received Aug 1.
“This means the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia tries its best to participate in the ECCC process,” said the bar’s Secretary-General, Ly Tayseng. “We have never had any interest in delaying the process.”
Roux, who lives in Montpellier, France, said that he would travel to Cambodia as needed over the coming months. “Taking the oath is part of the process that was begun so that the Extraordinary Chambers can now do the work for which they were created. I am happy to be able to add my contribution to this justice,” he said.
Roux has 30 years of legal experience and has defended four cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He is best known for helping defend Zacarias Moussaoui, now serving a life sentence for his role in the Sept 11 attacks on the US in 2001.
“I think it’s going to be a great team,” said Richard Rogers, the tribunal’s deputy defender. “We’ve got one of the most experienced Cambodian lawyers, Kar Savuth, working alongside one of the most experienced international lawyers, Francois Roux. It’s good for the ECCC in general, and…for the defense in particular.” Rogers added that the ECCC’s Defense Support Section had received approximately 15 applications from foreign lawyers interested in working at the tribunal, which will be forwarded to the bar on request.
Arrested in 1999, Duch was the chief of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, where some 14,000 people were detained and tortured under the Khmer Rouge regime. Both Roux and Kar Savuth declined to comment on whether Duch’s long pretrial detention in a Phnom Penh military prison would be an issue in his defense.