KRT Judge: Thailand, Vietnam Blocking Access to Documents

The governments of Vietnam and Thailand have ignored repeated requests from Khmer Rouge tribunal Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon to access documents relating to cases 003 and 004, according to a statement issued Monday.

In the statement, Judge Harmon —who announced his resignation earlier this month—says he asked the two countries for access to archives that may assist with investigations in the controversial cases, which are openly opposed by the Cambodian government.

“To date, neither the Socialist Republic of Vietnam nor the Kingdom of Thailand have cooperated with the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges,” Mr. Harmon said in the statement.

“Both governments have failed to produce relevant documents that could assist with the investigations and have not allowed investigators from the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges access to specifically identified archives that contain relevant documents.”

Judge Harmon first sent requests to the governments of Vietnam and Thailand in November 2013, both of which went unanswered, while further requests in 2014 and 2015 also “proved futile,” according to Monday’s statement.

“The Office of the Co-Investigating Judges urges the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Thailand, in the interests of justice, to comply fully with the outstanding requests for assistance,” he said.

According to documents released by the tribunal in recent months, Cambodia’s judicial police have ignored warrants issued by Judge Harmon for the arrests of former Khmer Rouge navy chief Meas Muth and district commander Im Chaem.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, questioned whether the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) had any legal basis for requesting evidence from foreign countries.

“The archive in Vietnam and Thailand is held by a political party and independent institutions like universities; it’s not run by the state,” he said. “I don’t think the ECCC can make a request to a political party unless there’s something else I don’t know of.”

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen declined to provide further details, but said that Mr. Chhang “may be ill-informed,” as he does not have full knowledge of what was requested.

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