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Tribunal Judges Lash Out at Defense

Cambodian judges lashed out at defense attorneys for jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea Friday, claiming a suit they filed in Phnom Penh Municipal Court against alleged corruption in the courts damaged their honor and dignity.

“We would like to state that all the judges of this Court entered into service by decision of the Supreme Council of Magistracy, chaired by His Majesty the King of Cambodia,” Cambodian judges for the Khmer Rouge tribunal said in a statement. “We absolutely reject such an allegation.”

The judges reserved the “right to legal recourse against any individuals” provoking problems related to “bad faith” or putting the “blame” on them.

“I am surprised that they seem to see me and my colleagues as the problem and not the corruption itself,” lead defense attorney Michiel Pestman told VOA Khmer Friday. “They seem to be shooting the messenger.”

Pestman said he considered the letter a threat for legal action and was not used to such threats from judges.

“That will certainly impact on my work [and] that will make it even more difficult to have a fair trial,” he said.