PHNOM PENH — Defense attorneys for an additional suspect at the UN-backed tribunal say the international side of the court is impeding a fair trial for their client.
Defense attorneys say they have been refused expenses for travel by the Defense Support Section to see one of the three suspects in Case 004, which is still under investigation.
The case accuses regional Khmer Rouge leaders Ta An, Ta Tith and Im Chaem of various atrocity crimes, but its prosecution is opposed by high-ranking members of the Cambodian government. A source close to the tribunal said the defense team has been attached to Ta An, who was in charge of district security for the regime in Takeo province.
Defense attorneys Goran Sluiter, Richard Rogers and Mom Luch said in a statement Thursday that the tribunal’s refusal to grant them travel expenses amounted to a violation of their client’s rights. They also accuse the tribunal of failing to officially recognize international attorney Richard Roger, in what they said was an obstacle to a “fair trial.”
Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said Case 004 has not proceeded to a point where travel expenses for defense attorneys is authorized. And though the tribunal is facing a number of financial difficulties, Olsen said these had nothing to do with the decision of the Defense Support Section.
“The Defense Support Section believes that the fair trial rights [of the accused] are safeguarded, because the suspect already has the defense team in Cambodia, and this defense team also has international staff,” he said.