Lawyers Say ‘Grave Breaches’ Must Be Dropped

Lawyers for Meas Muth, the only remaining suspect in the government-opposed Case 003 at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, have called upon the Trial Chamber to disregard allegations that he committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, a category of crimes that includes torture and killing.

In their amicus brief, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday, Michael Karnavas and Ang Udom argue that the ECCC must apply the law that existed between 1975 and 1979, and which “imposed a 10-year statute of limitations for all crimes with a sentence of at least five years.”

There is no law, either domestic or otherwise, that can supersede this statute of limitations, they say, leaving the court with no jurisdiction to try such crimes.

Although International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon issued an order for the removal of the lawyers in January, Mr. Karnavas said in an email that the order is being appealed and that he and Mr. Udom “remain actively engaged and continue to work on the case.”

Lars Olsen, the court’s legal communications officer, said the Trial Chamber would have to decide whether or not to accept the filing but couldn’t comment on its contents.

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