Ieng Thirith Lashes Out against the Co-Prosecutors' Introductory Submission and Denounces Noun Chea
Under the Internal Rules of the ECCC ('IRs') interviews of charged persons are closed to the public, which turns them into a bit of a mystery. IRs (Rule 56) explain that this measure is necessary to "preserve the rights and interests of the parties", which is the justification all involved will have to live with throughout the duration of this tribunal.
Bits and pieces of these interviews do get leaked out to the media with some of them appearing in print.
An order of provisional detention ('the order') most recently issued against Ieng Thirith breaks this code of official silence and, for the first time since the beginning of the pre-trial proceedings, gives the public a glimpse of what seems like an uphill battle put up by Mrs. Ieng during her interview by the Co-Investigating Judges. The text of the order reveals that Mrs. Thirith declared that in her opinion "the claims (the Co-Prosecutors' Introductory Submissions) of the Co-Prosecutors [are] 100% false" and that she "never had any relations with Noun Chea, whom she detests, as she knows she is a bad person".
Presumably, the latter statement was made in reference to the Co-Prosecutors' attempt to mount charges of conspirasy, which will make the prosecution's job easier when the cases of the three persons who currently stand accused (Duch's case had been severed prior) are forwarded to trial. The standard of proof of conspirasy under international law is lower than that of crimes committed by single individuals, which will allow the prosecutors to win cases, even if no direct links between the particular person and an order to commit a wrongful act can be established in court and proven beyond reasonable doubt. It is not clear whether Mrs. Ieng is aware of this technicality of law, however, her attempt to make a clean break from Noun Chea points in that direction.
It is also insightful to see that the former functionaries of Democratic Kampuchea are not likely to stand in court as a monolith -- like some of the defendants of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) -- now that denounciation has begun at the pre-trial level. This is likely to spiral into a scenario where the defendants might turn against one another and offer previously unknown evidence, thus, helping the prosecution make headway with their cases.