Defense lawyers for jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea on Monday filed a complaint in the national courts against Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior Cambodian officials for alleged interference at the UN-backed court.
The complaint follows the resignation earlier this month of UN investigating judge Siegfriend Blunk, who said public statements by Hun Sen and others in opposition to two cases at the court made it too difficult for him to proceed with his work.
In their complaint, Nuon Chea’s lawyers allege that Hun Sen, top members of the Cambodian People’s Party, ministers and others were infringing on the pursuit of justice by refusing to appear for testimony at the tribunal or speaking against cases at the court.
The complaint names Hun Sen, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Senate President Chea Sim, Finance Minister Keat Chhon, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and others.
Michiel Pestman, an international defense attorney for Nuon Chea, told reporters Monday he had spoken to the court prosecutor, “and he assured us that the case is going to be dealt with swiftly and according to the rules.”
The complaint was filed with Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s deputy prosecutor, Sok Roeun, who was unavailable for comment.
Government spokesman Keo Remy called the defense team “opportunist.”
The complaint adds further complications to the work of the court, which is working toward a trial for Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, who are charged with atrocity crimes, including genocide.
Court officials say they expect to open the first substantial hearing of Case 002 on Nov. 21.
Last week, the UN’s top legal officer met with Cambodian officials and requested that public figures refrain from speaking out against cases at the court.
Kim Suon, a civil party lawyer, told “Hello VOA” last week that Blunk’s resignation represented a “sign of worry” for the court that could delay proceedings.