Ieng Sary Defense: KR Investigator May Be Biased

Public statements by a legal officer at the Khmer Rouge tribunal sig­nify that he may be biased against Khmer Rouge Foreign Min­ister Ieng Sary, lawyers for the 82-year-old defendant have argued.

In motion papers submitted March 4, lawyers Ang Udom and Michael Karnavas requested a full accounting of comments made by David Boyle, an investigator with the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges, to determine whether the defense should seek his disqualification.

Boyle said Monday that he was prohibited from speaking to the press, and international Co-Inves­ti­gat­ing Judge Marcel Lemonde did not respond to questions submitted via e-mail. Peter Foster, the court’s UN spokesman, de­clined to comment.

However, a legal analyst said Monday that the defense’s arguments would likely find little favor with the court.

In published remarks cited by the defense, all of which predate the creation of the tribunal, Boyle argues that a royal pardon granted in 1996 to Ieng Sary as well as his death sentence handed down by the People’s Revolutionary Tribu­nal in 1979 need not be obstacles to his prosecution.

Some similar arguments appear in the tribunal’s November detention order for Ieng Sary.

“While Legal Officer Boyle is not a judge, the nature of his position is to provide objective and unbiased legal reasoning,” Karnavas and Ang Udom claim in recently ob­tained motion papers.

British lawyer Geoffrey Robert­son stepped down as president of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2004 after defense lawyers pointed out he had expressed belief in the guilt of defendants in a book he wrote before being appointed.

However, Stan Starygin, law professor at Pannasastra University, noted that last month the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected accusations of bias leveled at Judge Ney Thol.

“If the [Pre-Trial Chamber] re­fused to remove Ney Thol…re­mo­v­ing [Boyle] would simply be un­fair,” he said. “Most people who have been studying the Khmer Rouge issue have made a statement one way or another.”

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