Former Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok is searching for a new lawyer to replace Benson Samay, who has been the jailed cadre’s attorney for two years.
Attorney Dy Borima said Monday that Ta Mok’s relatives have contacted him several times about representing the former Khmer Rouge leader, but no agreement has been made yet because of negotiations over fees.
Ta Mok and Tuol Sleng prison chief Duch are the only cadre in custody awaiting a Khmer Rouge tribunal. A revised version of the trial law was passed by the Council of Ministers and the measure must go through a second round of review by parliament.
Benson Samay, a well known lawyer whose clients have included the ruling CPP, said no one has informed him of Ta Mok’s desire to change attorneys.
But Benson Samay said he would be happy if Ta Mok got a new lawyer because the Khmer Rouge leader’s case is very complicated. However, Ta Mok must first pay him for his services, which he has not done as of yet.
“He has the right to change lawyers,” Benson Samay said. “But he must pay me first because I’ve worked for him for a few years.”
Dy Borima said he hopes he can help Ta Mok, but he’s not sure how much he can do.
“The lawyer must have hope or he cannot do his job,” he said.
Dy Borima recently defended suspected members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters and was also the lawyer for Nuon Paet, a Khmer Rouge cadre serving a life sentence for the 1994 kidnapping and murders of three Western backpackers.
Ta Mok was the leader of a Khmer Rouge faction that arrested Pol Pot in July 1997. In March 1999, Ta Mok was arrested by the government. Benson Samay became his lawyer a month later, after Ta Mok rejected a previous attorney.