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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jacque Verges Isn’t Counting Cards, He Actually Gambles

Jacque Verges has quite a reputation which primarily consists of two things: he takes highly controversial and virtually unwinnable cases and turns proceedings into a circus rife with quasi-legal demagoguery which he calls ‘the rupture strategy’. The core of Verges’ strategy is not a complex amalgam of evidence suppression, and world-class cross examination techniques and legal research but an attempt to discredit the court and the entire system of government it represents. This approach somewhat worked in years leading up to the massive independence movement in the developing world some 40 years ago when the French began questioning the overall system of government they had in place. This time is ancient history now and these ducks no longer fly. Verges drones on, anyway. What might seem as a comical legal approach in this day and age is in reality a dangerous gamble Verges makes on his clients’ lives. Jacques has no coherent and calculated legal strategy; he is a hunch man who thinks of legal practice as unscripted acting, rather than a well-rehearsed theatrical play with a script written by topnotch writers.

Verges’ strategy of representing his client Khieu Sampan before the ECCC has been no different to the rest of his career. There is absolutely no evidence that Verges has looked into the charges brought against his client by the prosecution and has designed a strategy of a substantive response to these charges. Instead, he has been after the court for not ordering the translation of his client’s case-file into his native French. Although this is not an outlandish claim, cases are not won even if courts admit that the absence of translations of particular documents has been prejudicial to the rights of the accused. There is a gulf between such an admission and a declaration that the abuse of process has been so invasive that the only sensible remedy for it is the termination of charges as serious as those brought against Verges’ client. Once the Pre-Trial Chamber threw out Verges’ motion for termination of the proceedings against his client on the basis of extreme prejudice which he based on the absence of translations for a number of documents in his client’s case-file, Verges did not desist. The next ‘rupture’ argument he advanced was that of the corruption of the court and its unsuitability to deliver justice. Verges’ technique here seems to consist of filing reasonably credible motions, requesting a hearing, and then berating the judges for what he believes to be wrong with the court. The good news for us and Verges’ client is that the court is beginning to grow weary of Jacques’ shenanigans. This manifested itself in the recently issued warning in which the court struck back with the full force of the law enunciating that Verges’ ‘rupturous’ behavior will no longer be tolerated and that the court will take actions necessarily to put a stop to it. The more decisively and expeditiously the court acts, the more likely it is that it won’t be too late for a ‘conventional’ lawyer to save the day.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home