Ieng Sary’s defense team is re-questing more information from the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s co-in-vestigating judges on what they say are possible links between the US Central Intelligence Agency and one of their former investigators, ac-cording to a document the lawyers released Friday.
Stephen Heder, a scholar of Democratic Kampuchea and a former investigator for the Ex-
traordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, introduced himself in a 2003 book proposal as a former “intelligence officer,” according to the defense’s re-quest for information filed Jan 30.
“Given Investigator Heder’s nationality, it would appear likely that he was employed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency,” the document reads.
Michael Karnavas, one of Ieng Sary’s lawyers, wrote in an e-mail Sunday that if Heder had indeed worked as an intelligence officer, this could have an impact on his impartiality as an investigator. If he did not and merely embellished to get a book deal, it speaks to his character, he added.
“No allegations are made ag-ainst Mr Heder, but as part of our work, we need to be due diligent,” he wrote.
Asked about Heder’s character, several colleagues said they did not believe he could have worked for the CIA.
“To my knowledge, Steve has never been employed by the CIA. On the contrary, he is one of the most generous scholars I know, and the antithesis of a spy or someone who hides information,” Elizabeth Becker, a journalist who reported on Cambodia with Heder in the 1970s, wrote in an e-mail.
She and the historian David Chandler pointed to research funding he received from the US State Department, adding it did not amount to intelligence work.
Reached by e-mail, Heder said he could not comment because of his involvement with the court.
The lawyers made the request for information available on their website Friday before it was made public by the judges themselves, a move the judges had warned them against because it could jeopardize the confidentiality of the investigation.
Karnavas said they posted the document for the sake of transparency after getting no answer from the judges for two weeks.
Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde declined to comment Sunday. His colleague You Bun Leng said he had not yet seen the submission, and added that judges would have to see how much information had been disclosed on the defense team’s website before deciding on the potential legal consequences.
“It is not good that they published [the request] to the public,” he added.
(Additional reporting by Chhorn Chansy)