ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wouldn't This Be Fair?

The PTC rejected Khieu Samphan's appeal by establishing a curious precedent: matters for which no express provision is made in the Court's Internal Rules (IRs) cannot be appealed. Stiletto-narrow as this decision is it establishes a dangerous precedent for the Court's forthcoming decisions by adopting a textualist interpretation of the imperfectly crafted IRs.

Besides being procedurally unsound, this decision has declared that the Court's refusal to translate Khieu's case-file into French -- which prevents Khieu's Co-Lawyer from reading it, by his own admission -- does not constitute an abuse of process. The Court instead has suggested that the defense team identify the potentially exculpatory documents in the case-file and request that the Court translate them.

The question of "exculpatory" is convoluted as it might be elusive which documents bear that quality without examining them in the most detailed manner. In addition, the prosecution was never subjected to the same task. In fact, most of the prosecution's job had been done by the millions of US and European dollars contributed to the cause of prosecuting the Khmer Rouge and channeled through the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) for a period of 11 years preceding the establishment of the ECCC. Although this center is known to have claimed to conduct "unbiased research" such claims are not borned out by the Center's public behavior (the last appearance of such behavior is a Center-funded foldout in the English-speaking newspaper The Cambodia Daily which bears the word "Genocide" in large letters, a crime with which none of the presently accused persons have been charged). Therefore, considering that the prosecution got more than a head-start and with the principle of equality of arms in mind and the fact that the defense never was allowed to benefit from the millions of dollars' worth of research due to the policies of DC-Cam, wouldn't it be fair if the Court at least allowed unhampered access to the lawyers of the charged persons' to these persons' respective case-files in a language they can understand?


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