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Tribunal Parties To Meet Media Seperately

All parties participating in the Khmer Rouge tribunal will be separated for future press conferences, following a row at the courts last week, a spokeswoman said.

Following a hearing on jailed Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan Dec. 4, prosecutors, defense lawyers and civil parties joined one press conference in one room at the tribunal.

The press conference devolved into a verbal confrontation between alleged victims of the regime, defense lawyers and prosecutors and at least one threat against the defense team.

"We will appeal to all parties to behave more respectfully within the court to any other parties," tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis said Monday.

The courts will now ensure that press conferences will be separated, she said.

"The aim is to let any party express its views freely, without intimidation or a clash," she said.

Thursday's row was the first of its kind in a tribunal that has been long-delayed in its prosecution of five Khmer Rouge leaders.

Sok Laing, a coordinator for the civil parties of the Center for Social Development, who was present at the "misunderstanding" between lawyers and victims, said the trouble arose from the pain of the victims, among them the head of the center, Seng Theary, who had been upset by the testimony earlier of Khieu Samphan.

"It is not a ban for their right to participate in the process if they organize for them to have a chance to address the press also," he said.