Judges Deny Ieng Sary Team’s Claim Witnesses Were Intimidated

The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s investigating judges yesterday rejected claims made this week by the defense for former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary that the court’s investigators had intimidated potential witnesses.

Defense lawyers Michael Karn­avas and Ang Udom wrote in a letter on Monday that they had learned from undisclosed sources that po­tential witnesses had complained to the court of intimidation and said that any resulting testimony “is very likely to be unreliable.”

Yesterday’s taciturn two-paragraph reply follows a warning issued on Feb 25 by Investigating Judges You Bunleng and Marcel Lemonde, who for the second time in a year said the defense lawyers, Mr Kar­navas and Mr Udom, risked sanction for alleged abuse of process and violations of the confidentiality of their client’s investigation. The de­fense intends to appeal against the warning, according to Mr Karnavas.

In their letter yesterday, Judges Bunleng and Lemonde said they knew of no such complaints.

“In view of the extremely vague nature of the facts referred to in your letter, and in particular in the ab­sence of any details concerning the identity of these ‘potential witnesses,’ […] we are not in a position to provide any response to your letter,” the judges wrote.

Over 700 witnesses have been interviewed in the second case. Very few have been subject to coercive measures, which can include detention for compulsory testimony, according to tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen.

In a separate statement on Wed­nes­day, Judges Lemonde and Bun­leng notified parties to the court’s second case that they had accepted some of the requests for additional acts of investigation submitted after the close of their investigation.

The tribunal said in February that prosecutors, defense lawyers and civil parties had filed about 30 requests for acts of additional investigation after the Jan 14 close of their two-and-a-half-year investigation.

“In parallel, we shall in the coming weeks decide by order on all the pen­ding requests for acts,” the judges wrote.


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