Cambodia: Genocide Court Censures Defense Lawyers
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: Fresh controversy broke out Tuesday (3 March) at Cambodia's genocide tribunal when judges censured two defense lawyers for posting what they said were confidential court documents on a Web site.
The U.N.-assisted tribunal said the lawyers posted the documents _ legal requests and appeals to the court _ on a legal Web site for their Khmer Rouge client despite repeated warnings not to.
The tribunal is seeking to establish responsibility for an estimated 1.7 million deaths during the brutal 1975-79 rule of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge.
Lawyers Michael Karnavas of the U.S. and Ang Udom of Cambodia were accused of breaching court rules "by revealing confidential information," and "failing to act in accordance with the standards and ethics of the legal profession," according to a court order.
The tribunal demanded the lawyers remove the documents within 48 hours and said its six-page order would be sent to bar associations to which the lawyers belong for "any appropriate action."
Karnavas, who with his partner represents former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, denied doing anything wrong in an e-mailed statement, but said they would remove the documents "until such time as this matter is sorted out."
"We have no intention to compromise or interfere with the investigation," Karnavas said. "We will however continue to press for a more accountable, responsive and transparent process."
The tribunal has been beset by controversy, mostly involving allegations of corruption and political interference.
The first trial, scheduled to begin 30 March, is for 65-year-old Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, who headed the Khmer Rouge's largest torture center. It starts nearly three years after the court was established. (AP)