International defense lawyers for jailed Khmer Rouge leader
Nuon Chea have asked the tribunal and the government for information related to
corruption allegations in the courts, claiming a fair trial for their client
could be at stake.
In an Oct. 31 letter to Council Minister Sok An, lawyers
Michiel Pestman and Victor Koppe requested “on a confidential basis…communications and
reports from the United Nations relating to issues of corruption at the
[tribunal] and any further details of allegations of corruption at the
[tribunal] in your possession.”
The tribunal has been hounded by allegations of kickbacks
from its inception, and Cambodian staff reported in June they had
been forced to pay pats of their salaries to officials to maintain their positions.
In 2007, the Open Society Justice Initiative found similiar allegations of
A UN oversight office examined the allegations earlier this
year, as donors withheld more than $300,000 from the Cambodian side of the
Findings from the UN investigation have been passed to
Cambodian officials, but they have not been made public.
UN tribunal spokesman Peter Foster declined to comment on
any ongoing investigations within the courts.
Nuon Chea lawyers requested from Sok An “access to information
related to allegations of corruption at the Tribunal, including the report of a
UN investigation which has been disclosed to the Royal Government of Cambodia.”
Council of Ministers officials could not be reached for
The lawyers wrote they had tried to obtain documents and
information from tribunal officials, but had been unsuccessful. The UN had said
it was “not opposed” to the release of the information, the lawyers said.