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Lawyers Appointed for Two Suspects in Controversial Tribunal Case

Ta Tith, left, who oversaw the Northwest Zone and is named in Case 004, along with Ta An, right, a former Khmer Rouge commander speaks during an exclusive interview with VOA Khmer on July 27, 2011 at his house, file photo.

Officials at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal have issued two lawyers for suspects in a controversial case.

The court announced Tuesday that Bit Senglim and So Mosseny, both members of the Cambodian Bar Association, have been assigned to Case 004, though it kept the names of their respective clients confidential.

Cases 003 and 004 are still in the investigation stage, and critics of the court worry that they will never be fully prosecuted, because top Cambodian officials oppose both cases going forward.

Both cases would require further indictments, at a court that has seen donor support flagging and Cambodian victims disappointed with a long trial process for two leaders currently in detention.

According to court documents, the two suspects in Case 004 are Ta Tith, Ta An, and Im Chaem, former Khmer Rouge regional commanders who are currently living in Cambodia. Only one suspect in Case 003 remains: Meas Muth, who was assigned a lawyer last year. A second suspect in that case, Sou Meth, died earlier this year.

The assignment of lawyers, however, is “not linked to any particular development in the investigation,” tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said.

Latt Ky, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc, told VOA Khmer that average Cambodians know very little about the developments of cases 003 and 004, and many survivors of the regime don’t believe the cases will move forward.

“Victims seemed to have lost confidence that it will happen,” he said.