PHNOM PENH (dpa) – Former Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea has instructed his defence team in a letter made public Tuesday to maintain a boycott of his genocide trial in Cambodia, in defiance of a warning last week that they would be sanctioned if they do.
In the letter, the 88-year-old “Brother Number 2”, as he was known during the ultra-Maoist regime that killed about 1.7 million people, said four of the judges trying his case
“are biased and not independent”.
In September, the lawyers filed a motion seeking the disqualification of the judges,
who found Nuon Chea
and co-defendant Khieu Samphan guilty of crimes against humanity in August following a trial in the first phase of their case.
The genocide portion of the trial, which will also examine rapes and purges, began on October 17.
Both defence teams walked out of those proceedings.
Nuon Chea’s team says the judges lack impartiality, while the Khieu Samphan team says they cannot defend their client in his second trial while they are preparing an extensive appeal in his first.
Last week, the Trial Chamber judges issued a written warning
of misconduct on the part of the legal teams, ordering them to attend an administrative meeting at the court on Tuesday.
Despite attending the meeting, Nuon Chea lawyer Victor Koppe told dpa that the teams still intend to boycott evidentiary hearings
once they resume, though a date has not been set.