Continuing their pursuit of Judge Nil Nonn, the defense for Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary yesterday appealed to two organs of the Cambodian state to investigate and possibly to sanction the judge for apparent admissions of bribery.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal last month denied a defense request to unseat Judge Nonn, the Trial Chamber president, saying statements he made in 2002 to a documentary team predated the existence of the tribunal and so could not disqualify him from presiding over the court’s second trial later this year.
Judge Nonn in 2002 reportedly said he sometimes accepted payment from litigants at Battambang Provincial Court. He has since denied making such remarks and declined to comment yesterday.
In a letter to the Anticorruption Unit, defense lawyers Michael Karnavas and Ang Udom said Judge Nonn should be removed from the tribunal if necessary.
“Judge Nil Nonn’s conduct would lead a reasonable observer to believe that his decisions are for sale or rendered based on extrajudicial considerations,” they wrote.
The defense also wrote to the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, the Cambodian legal system’s independent governing body, asking that it investigate Judge Nonn’s remarks and discipline him if need be.
Keo Remy, the unit’s spokesman, said yesterday he was unaware of the letter but that the ACU welcomed all complaints.
Under the Untac code of 1992, felony corruption carries a 10-year statue of limitations. But Mr Remy said yesterday he doubted his office could handle the complaint against Judge Nonn as its prosecutorial authority dated from April, when the Anticorruption Law came into effect.
“The ACU law cannot procede backwards. It starts after it comes into effect,” he said.
After failing to obtain satisfaction at the tribunal, lawyers for Khmer Rouge second-in-command Nuon Chea in 2009 complained of alleged kickbacks to Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The matter is on appeal after prosecutors abruptly closed their investigation.