Is This Really the Best Ieng Sary's Defense Can Do?
Ieng Sary's lawyers recently argued that their client should not be prosecuted for the offenses he had been charged with due to the existence of a royal pardon issued by then King Norodom Sihanouk in 1996. If this is the best argument Ieng's lawyers had come up with, then they came to a gunfight with an empty clip as the weaknesses of this argument are too obvious for the PTC to miss. Let's take a closer look at the defense's argument. The defense argued the double jeopardy protection which only applies when an accused is tried for the same crime, which in terms of law means the same offense. This is not at all Ieng's case who was tried by People's Revolutionary Tribunal (PRT) in 1979 and convicted of the offense of genocide to absolve which a royal pardon was issued in 1996 when Ieng defected to the government. The pardon, however, also granted immunity from prosecution under the Law to Outlaw the Democratic Kampuchea Group which is not being used by the ECCC to base charges upon. ECCC's Co-Investigating Judges (CIJs), however, did not charge him with the offense of genocide but instead with two other offenses, crimes against humanity and war crimes which are distinct and are neither mentioned in the PRT decision of 1979, nor do they appear in the royal pardon of 1996. If Ieng's lawyers read the text of the pardon closely, they would know it is that narrow and does not afford immunity from prosecution beyond the 1979 conviction and cases where the Law to Outlaw the Democtratic Kampuchea Group is applied. Is this the best Ieng's defense can do? If so, there isn't much for their client to hinge his hopes upon.