Defense lawyers for Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea requested Tuesday that the Appeal Court interview both the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s UN coordinator, Knut Rosandhaug, and the chief Cambodian administrator, Sean Visoth, over allegations of corruption at the tribunal, according to a copy of the request.
The request was in relation to a criminal complaint about allegations of kickbacks at the tribunal, which was filed in January and then dropped by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in February after a brief investigation.
Andrew Ianuzzi, the American adviser to Nuon Chea’s legal team, registered an appeal of that decision with the Appeal Court on Feb 19.
Ianuzzi wrote to Appeal Court Prosecutor Henro Raken requesting that Knut Rosandhaug, coordinator of the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, and Sean Visoth, the tribunal’s head of administration, be interviewed in response to a report composed by the German parliament’s human rights commission, which visited the tribunal last fall.
According to a translation of the report obtained by Ianuzzi and quoted in his letter to Henro Raken: “The United Nations has conducted an investigation of the head of the administration of the [Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia], Sean Visoth, and come to the conclusion that he was guilty of corruption.”
The report attributed that assertion to Rosandhaug.
The report itself was removed from the German government’s website Thursday, a day after it was reported on by The Cambodia Daily.
Eduard Lintner, Christian Social Union member of Parliament for Bad Kissingen in northern Bavaria, said by telephone at the time that, although he stood by the contents of the report, he and the other four members of the parliamentary delegation did not have any evidence to back up the report’s claims.
“I hereby request that this new evidence be placed on the case file and that your office conduct interviews with Messrs Sean and Rosandhaug regarding the allegations,” Ianuzzi wrote in the letter.
Ianuzzi said he met with Henro Raken Tuesday morning and handed over the letter before the two men agreed to meet again Friday.
“He did accept the letter and a copy of the [German] report,” Ianuzzi said, adding that he has made a request with the ECCC for official Khmer and English translations of the German document.
Henro Raken said Tuesday that he had received the letter and report from Ianuzzi, but added, “I have no idea what this document is about. It is written in German and needs to be translated to Khmer.”
He said he expects to receive a translation of the report when he meets with Ianuzzi on Friday.
Ianuzzi said that although he is cautiously optimistic his request for prosecutors to interview Rosandhaug and Sean Visoth will be granted, “Given my previous dealings with the Cambodian justice system, I’m certainly not hopeful.”
When reached Tuesday, Sean Visoth declined to comment, saying that he remained on medical leave from the tribunal and was not aware of Ianuzzi’s request that he be interviewed by the Appeal Court over the corruption allegation.
Rosandhaug did not respond to e-mails or phone calls requesting comment.
Also on Tuesday, Ianuzzi said he was in the process of drafting a second letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, requesting that he release a confidential UN report on an investigation into the corruption allegations at the tribunal. The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services wrote that report, and in October, the international body invoked treaty protections to deny Nuon Chea’s legal team access to the document.
Ianuzzi said he has yet to receive a response from Ban’s office about a similar request sent on Feb 23.