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Cambodia: lawyer quits ex-Khmer Rouge head of state defense team

[JURIST] The Cambodian lawyer representing former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan [JURIST news archive] before the Extraordinary Chambers of the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) resigned [press release, PDF] Tuesday, citing health problems. Some have speculated [ECCCReparations op-ed] that Say Bory's resignation is related to controversial tactics employed by French co-counsel Jacques Verges [BBC profile]. In February, Verges said that Samphan was ending his cooperation [JURIST report] with the court, saying that documents necessary for Samphan's defense had not been translated into French. In a decision [PDF text] to adjourn the proceedings, the court responded that French copies of all relevant documents were available and issued a warning to Verges for not indicating sooner that language difficulties existed. The Phnom Penh Post has local coverage.

Khieu Samphan was the fifth senior Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] leader to be detained by the ECCC when he was arrested last year. The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979. The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2005, PDF] to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials.

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