The defence team for Meas Muth has said terminating the proceedings against the alleged Khmer Rouge naval commander is the “only legitimate and lawful option” if funds cannot be found to ensure a fair trial.
The co-investigating judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in May made a confidential request for submissions on whether to issue a “permanent stay on proceedings” in the government-opposed cases 003, against Muth; 004, against Yim Tith; and 004/02, against Ao An. The co-investigators cited a “lack of funding” as the reason for the proposed stay, a justification that raised eyebrows among court observers.
Muth’s lawyer Michael Karnavas yesterday confirmed he had made such a submission.
“Effectively, if our client is indicted, then afford him his human rights, give him a full and fair trial and, if necessary, an appeal. If the UN and Cambodian Government cannot afford to maintain the ECCC, to properly fund it, to go the distance as it must, then the only legitimate and lawful option is to terminate the proceedings immediately,” he said.
“Anything less would be a pretence, a charade of due process.”
Lawyers for Yim Tith and Ao An declined to comment yesterday, citing the confidentiality of the process, and the prosecution did not respond to requests for comment.
A decision on the fate of all three cases was extended last month, but court spokesperson Hayat Abu-Saleh said yesterday no deadline had been set.