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Bar Association Seeks Volunteers as Tribunal Advances

The impending trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders will need volunteer defenders, the Cambodian Bar Association said Friday.

The Bar Association earlier this year made itself one of the main public obstacles to the advancement of a tribunal, when it steadfastly refused to lower proposed fees for foreign lawyer participation. Talks on rules governing the tribunal only moved forward when the Bar Association relented.

Now that five classified names have been handed to investigating judges for possible indictments in the courts, the Bar Association says volunteer defense attorneys are needed.

Bar Association President Ky Tech said his lawyers were busy with "defense activities" but would need volunteers to defend former Khmer Rouge leaders.

"The co-prosecutors began to send up the cases for investigation, and this means that the lawyers should also be ready to help the defendants," tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said Friday.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, called defense of the former regime leaders "an important part" of a just trial process.