Japan Looks for Solution With Bar Over ECCC Fees

Japanese Embassy officials have been in discussions with the Cam­bo­dian Bar Association in an at­tempt to resolve the impasse over fees for foreign lawyers at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, bar Presi­dent Ky Tech said Sunday.

Ky Tech said he had also met earlier this month with officials from the Australian and Canadian em­bas­sies to discuss the fees, which the bar wants to impose on foreign lawyers but which the court’s international judges said could lead to unfair trials. “We meet to seek solutions,” Ky Tech said. “But there is no result yet.”

Ky Tech said Sunday he could not reveal the precise contents of the discussions, the most recent of which had been with a senior Japanese diplomat on April 11.

Bar Secretary-General Ly Tay­seng said that the fees were on the agenda of the bar council’s meeting to be held Friday.

Eiichi Yoshinaga, a Japanese Em­bassy administrative staff member, said that no one was available for comment. The Australian Em­bassy confirmed that Australian diplomats had spoken with Ky Tech but de­clined further comment.

At a March 23 farewell luncheon, former Japanese Ambassador Fum­iaki Takahashi said a joint effort to resolve disagreements was in the interests of the ECCC, Ky Tech said Sunday.

“I understood that he was talking about the fees,” he said. “I agreed with his comment. No one should pressure another. If there is pressure, I will not kneel down,” Ky Tech added.

Officials on the international side of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia could not be reached Sunday. But ECCC rules committee member Mong Moni­chariya said, “I just want to declare that, on behalf of the Cam­bo­dian members of the committee, I would welcome all resolutions from outside parties.”

Theary Seng, executive director of the Center for Social Devel­opment, said outside help might en­courage future obstructionism.

“If an external actor decides to step in, it resolves the fees issue but it doesn’t resolve the larger question of the integrity of this process,” she said.

“It is rewarding less-than-stellar behavior.”

 

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