PHNOM PENH (Cambodia Herald) - The trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal announced Friday that Dutch and American defense lawyers for Pol Pot's former deputy had been found guilty of misconduct.
In a statement, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) said that the decision was accompanied by notifications to the bar associations of Amsterdam and the State of New York.
The ruling affects Dutch lawyer Michiel Pestman and American colleague Andrew Ianuzzi, who have been defending Nuon Chea, the former chief ideologue of the Khmer Rouge regime also known as Brother Number Two.
Under ECCC rules, the trial chamber said it could "take future action, including sanctions against or refusal of audience to any member of the Nuon Chea defense who fails to heed this warning."
The misconduct "reflects a pattern of disregard for the duties of counsel and the ethics of the legal profession," the statement said.
Examples included "language and conduct disrespectful to the court and disruptive of trial proceedings ... unauthorized public disclosure of confidential information, including to the press ... and disregard of provisions of the ECCC legal framework and trial chamber orders."
Such conduct "appears to fall short of accepted standards of professionalism and ... fails to accord with the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession," the statement said.
"This is particularly regrettable in the specific ECCC context, where international staff hired or funded by the United Nations are instead expected to exemplify the highest international standards, and thus contribute to capacity building in Cambodia," it added.
Regarding releasing confidential documents to the media, the trial chamber warned journalists of the "possible impact of unauthorized disclosure of confidential material on the security of victims and witnesses, as well as to other protected fair trial interests.
"The decision may assist Cambodian and international media sources to more effectively question whether material provided to them by the Nuon Chea defense team is appropriate for publication," it said.
To verify whether material provided to them is legitimately in the public domain, media were encouraged to contact the trial chamber senior legal officer for assistance.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Lars Olsen
Legal Communications Officer
Mobile: +855(0)-12 488 023