Khieu Samphan has excused International Co-Lawyer Arthur Vercken from his defense team after the French attorney decided to cease representing him in the second phase of Case 002, according to a letter released by the court on Monday.
“A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Mr. Arthur Vercken notifying me that due to a number of personal reasons, he will not be able to continue representing me as my International Co-Lawyer in the proceedings before the ECCC,” Khieu Samphan said in the letter, which was dated November 23.
The former Khmer Rouge head of state added that although Mr. Vercken—who was appointed in December 2011—was present at the first appeal hearing on November 17, he would not be part of the rest of the appeal process.
“Further, due to the terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris the preceding weekend, Mr. Vercken returned to France on 18 November without having had the opportunity to discuss his intentions with me,” Khieu Samphan said in the letter.
The decision comes after Victor Koppe, international defense counsel for Nuon Chea, informed the court on November 23 that he would continue representing his client, despite calling the tribunal “a complete farce.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Victor Koppe informed the court on Friday that he would continue to represent Nuon Chea. He informed the court on November 23.