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.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

An Attempt to Disqualify Judge Cartwright

The Noun Chea defense keeps papering the Court. As part of this, a motion to disqualify Trial Chamber Judge Cartwright was filed.

Disqualification of judges has never been successfully at this Court. Those well familiar with the process remember that this Court refused to disqualify J. Ney Thol who also refused to recuse himself in Case 001. While there is absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone familiar with J. Ney’s overall professional record and the record of his involvement in the prosecution of Duch, this Court ruled against the request for his disqualification and J. Ney, unsurprisingly, did not feel that a recusal would have been appropriate and warranted to ensure the integrity of the proceedings (a concept entirely alien to the Cambodian judicial process). The NC defense attempted to disqualify J. Cartwright with a weak borsht of media reports and indecorous statements in court. One would think that if the evidence presented against J. Ney failed to disqualify, stronger evidence of impartiality or bias would have been necessary to try to disqualify successfully. If the defense learned nothing from the attempt to disqualify J. Ney, very few other things will have the girth to provide a better learning opportunity. With this said, given J. Cartwright’s curtness with the NC defense, it does not take a quality legal analyst to figure out that she does not care for the NC defense, and Counsel Michiel Pestman in particular. If that dislike is evident to most others as well as it is evident to me and Pestman, the legal definition of this dislike is called bias and J. Cartwright is biased against Counsel Pestman in particular and NC defense as a whole. The Trial Chamber looked for legal grounds to reject the motion by declaring the Internal Rules of this Court a lex specialis which governs these proceedings, not the Cambodian Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). This marks a new level of judicial nonsense regarding the IRs. Maybe re-reading the founding law of this Court is the way to go (would the TC like a complimentary copy?).

To conclude, judicial behavior in court should be challenged but the challenger has to assess the evidence in his possession to prevent this type of challenge from becoming a mockery (anger and frustration only sometimes make for a good legal argument). To the TC, strong stuff on the IRs: it is neither correct in the context of the founding law, nor in the context of the well-established definition of ‘lex specialis’ (let's forget about the complexities of this definition; let's keep it simple: 'lex' simply and plainly means 'law'; the IRs were made up by the judicial officers of this Court; would the TC care to point out the law of this country which grants judicial officers in Cambodia the authority to make law (I can offer a copy of the law which does the opposite; it is a little known document (and I am sadly not even saying it in jest) known as the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia)? If the TC can, can I have a copy of it? I am willing to trade it for a copy of the founding law (this one does exist and is not a figment of my imagination) which make it some of the most remarkable material produced by the TC to-date.


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