[JURIST] Defense lawyers for former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive], on trial for crimes against humanity [press release, PDF; JURIST report], have been ordered [text, PDF] to remove documents relating to their case from a website within 48 hours or face sanctions. Judges from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] have ordered the lawyers to remove nine documents from their trial website that may compromise the confidentiality of court proceedings. The documents in question relate to defense requests to add Ieng Sary's medical and psychiatric health information to the trial record. The defense had previously refused to follow court orders, alleging that the co-investigating Judges, You Benleng and Marcel Lemonde had:
suppress[ed] Defence [sic] filings which may be embarrassing or which call into question the legitimacy and judiciousness of the judges, all under the fig leaf that these are necessary measures to protect the supposed confidentiality and integrity of the investigation or judicial decision-making process.In response, the court said that the material being published was confidential, and defense counsel could not "determine unilaterally which documents may be made public" but must seek court approval before proceeding or face sanctions.
Previously, Ieng Saray, who has been battling health problems [JURIST report], had argued that the tribunal was unfair, as he had been pardoned [JURIST report; NYT report] for his crimes by King Norodom Sihanouk on similar charges in 1996 and had appealed his detention citing poor health [JURIST report]. The ECCC has been plagued with credibility and financial [JURIST reports] problems since its inception. Last July, the UN cut off funding for the court, forcing it to rely on international donations despite a recent audit [JURIST reports] that cleared it of accusations that it mismanaged funds.