Judges Reject Call for More Investigations

The Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday rejected requests made last month by the British prosecutor Andrew Cayley to expand the court’s investigations, saying he had impermissibly acted without the cooperation of his Cambodian counterpart.

Co-Investigating Judges You Bunleng and Siegfried Blunk likewise rejected Mr Cayley’s request to extend until later this month a deadline for victim applications in the court’s Case 003.

Mr Cayley said yesterday that he intended to give notice of an appeal today.

Yesterday’s order continued the apparent path taken by the judges toward the dismissal of Case 003, which concerns crimes against humanity alleged to have occurred across much of Cambodia.

It also continued a legal battle over the conduct of investigations that are opposed by the Cambo­dian government and that both judges have reportedly agreed not to pursue.

With no suspects questioned or civil parties admitted, Case 003 was concluded on April 29 with no more than 17 witnesses interviewed, according to people briefed on the matter.

After the judges concluded their investigation of Case 003, which concerns the commanders of the revolutionary navy and air force, Mr Cayley said last month in a public statement that the case had not been fully investigated.

Citing the lack of public information, Mr Cayley on May 10 asked that a two-week deadline for members of the public to come forward be extended by six weeks.

He later submitted three re­quests for additional acts of investigation. The judges last month ordered Mr Cayley to retract his public statement, but he has lodged an appeal against this.

In a statement yesterday, Judges Blunk and Bunleng said they had rejected Mr Cayley’s request for a six-week extension of the civil party deadline but would accept applications submitted up to three weeks after the original May 18 deadline.

The decision effectively extended the deadline until today, one day after the decision.

After Mr Cayley’s May 9 public statement disclosed the locations and nature of allegations in Case 003, 318 people came forward seeking to be added as parties.

In their order yesterday, Judges Blunk and Bunleng said that under court procedure Mr Cayley had no authority to act alone without first formally recording a disagreement with his Cambodian counterpart, Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang, or receiving her permission to do so.

Prior to the decision, Ms Leang, who is opposed to cases 003 and 004, informed the judges on May 25 that she had not delegated power to Mr Cayley to undertake any action and that no disagreement had been recorded.

Mr Cayley’s requests for further investigation were therefore invalid, the judges found.

Mr Cayley told the judges that no such conditions were required before he could act.

But the judges said that beginning a disagreement process would have allowed for “legal certainty and transparency” in the investigation.

Mr Cayley’s appeal will now come before the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber, which has in the past proved unable to form a necessary supermajority to rule on politically charged matters.

Related Stories

Latest News