Ahead of a press conference planned for Thursday, lawyers for Brother Number Two Nuon Chea on Tuesday attacked Helen Jarvis, the newly installed chief of the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s victims unit, saying her publicly held political views are cause for concern.
Also on Tuesday, Appeal Court Prosecutor-General Hanrot Raken said that he had begun the process of reviewing the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to dismiss a preliminary investigation into alleged kickbacks at the ECCC that was launched in January at the request of the Nuon Chea defense.
Dutch lawyer Michiel Pestman said Tuesday that the Nuon Chea defense was concerned by the contents of a 2006 open letter from an Australian political group signed by over 50 people including Ms Jarvis, a tribunal ethics monitor and former public affairs chief for the tribunal who began work as head of the court’s victims unit on Monday.
Ms Jarvis said Tuesday that she did not wish to comment. Tribunal Public Affairs Chief Reach Sambath said he could not comment on a document issued outside the tribunal.
The document highlighted by the defense team is a May 2006 open letter of the Leninist Party Faction that appears to express dismay at internal disagreements within the larger Democratic Socialist Perspective, part of the Socialist Alliance, a leftwing political party in Australia, from where Ms Jarvis hails. The LPF was severed from the DSP last year.
“We too are Marxists and believe that ‘the ends justifies the means.’ In time of revolution and civil war, the most extreme measures will sometimes become necessary and justified,” the letter states. “Against the bourgeoisie and their state agencies we don’t respect their laws and their fake moral principles.”
Mr Pestman said he was troubled by Ms Jarvis’ expressions of apparent disdain for the law and so-called bourgeois moral principles.
“I have my serious doubts that a person with these views is the right person to be, one, an ethics monitor, and two, head of the victims unit,” he said. “The big question is, what are her ends?
“She is constantly minimizing and downplaying the issue of corruption at the court. She is always taking the view of the government. We are seriously worried,” he added.
Mr Pestman said he plans to address the matter of Ms Jarvis further at a press conference scheduled for Thursday.
Andrew Ianuzzi, a legal consultant to the defense, also said Thursday that Mr Raken had told the defense he plans to interview the tribunal’s furloughed Director of Administration Sean Visoth and to seek to obtain a confidential UN review of kickback allegations, which was completed last year.
Mr Raken declined to provide details on Tuesday but confirmed that he had referred the matter to Deputy Prosecutors-General Ouk Savuth and Hang Sitha.
(Additional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)