Nuon Chea Lawyers Renew Call for Political Inquiry

Dutch lawyers for Brother Number Two on Wednesday announced they had lodged a fresh request for the Khmer Rouge tribunal to investigate alleged political interference in the work of the court.

The request anticipates indictments expected to be handed down in September and follows a similar request filed by the defense in November, accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen and other officials of interference in the administration of justice resulting from public remarks that the lawyers said could have dissuaded witnesses from cooperating with the court.

The defense last month sought the disqualification of Judge You Bunleng after the judge backed out of an investigation opposed by the government. Wednesday’s request said this event provided “ample reason to believe that some external entity has interfered with the administration of justice.”

Wednesday’s request calls for the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber to take statements on Judge Bunleng’s reversal from an Interior Ministry spokesman, the tribunal’s Legal Communications Officer Lars Olsen, its Public Affairs Chief Reach Sambath, Judge Bunleng and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Judge Bunleng should not rule on indictments if in fact he is subject to government pressure, according to defense lawyers Michiel Pestman and Victor Koppe.

“[T]he defense cannot accept the final outcome of an investigation that has been conducted by an investigating judge who has been the target of (successful) outside attempts to influence him,” they wrote.

The court’s Pre-Trial Chamber is still considering the defense’s November request for an investigation for contempt of court resulting from government officials’ remarks.


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