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Prosecutor Files Appeal Against Judges’ ‘Censure’

 President Jonathan and Sudanese President al-Bashir shake hands before an African Union summit on health in Abuja.
President Jonathan and Sudanese President al-Bashir shake hands before an African Union summit on health in Abuja.

International tribunal prosecutor Andrew Cayley has filed an official appeal against investigating judges at the UN-backed court, saying they were not within their right to order him to retract portions of a public statement about a controversial case.

Cayley is at odds with judges Siegried Blunk and You Bunleang after he issued a statement this month claiming they needed to further investigate Case 003, which deals with two unnamed Khmer Rouge leaders.

The investigating judges ordered a retraction of the statement, which named sites that needed to be investigated and urged the judges to directly question the two suspects in the case. The judges said Cayley had revealed confidential court information.

In his May 27 appeal against the order, addressed to the Pre-Trial Chmaber of the court, Cayley said the judges were not within their rights to order the retraction and that they had misinterpreted rules of the court pertaining to his right for public disclosures and the need for court confidentiality.

He said the order was an act of censure that interfered with his duties as prosecutor, especially to inform the public of the workings of the court in order to help fulfill a mandate of national reconciliation.

Cases 003 and 004 have come under increased scrutiny since April, when the investigating judges issued a conclusion announcement that victims said did not allow them to fully participate. The sudden conclusion also spread concern that the court was working to close those two cases quickly—both cases that Prime Minister Hun Sen has publicly objected to.

Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, said Monday the Cayley’s appeal was an important break away from the typical silence surrounding Case 003.

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said the Pre-Trial Chamber was under no time limit to consider Cayley’s appeal.

Meanwhile, tribunal officials announced Monday they had so far accepted more than 300 civil party applicants in Case 003, a sign that the case was in some respects moving forward.