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Cambodia genocide tribunal finds defense lawyers responsible for misconduct

The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Friday found the defense team of Nuon Chea [ECCC profile], the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist, guilty of misconduct [decision, PDF]. The decision came a week after a verbal warning [Cambodia Tribunal Monitor report] that was given to the defense counsel for misconduct such as "wilful violation of court orders, unauthorized disclosure to the press of confidential or strictly confidential material, and statements in court which are disrespectful or which otherwise do not accord with the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession." The tribunal stressed that defense lawyers before the ECCC are required under Article 21(3) of the ECCC Agreement [text, PDF] "to act in accordance with the Cambodian Law on the Statutes of the Bar and with 'the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.'" The main focus of the decision was on two international lawyers, Michiel Pestman and Andrew Ianuzzi, members of the Amsterdam Bar Association and the New York Bar Association, respectively. With the decision, the trial chamber announced that it is going to refer the two defense lawyers to their bar associations for any appropriate actions.

The trial against Nuon began [JURIST report] in November with two other Khmer Rouge officials charged with crimes against humanity, breach of international law and genocide. The other two defendants are Khieu Samphan, a former head of state, and Ieng Sary [ECCC profiles], the former foreign minister. Ieng Thirith [ECCC profile], a fourth defendant, was ordered to be released few days earlier by the ECCC due to Alzheimer's.

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