The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has adjourned trial hearings in Case 002/02 until 09:00 on 8 January 2015. The adjournment is a consequence of the continued refusal of counsel for Khieu Samphan to participate in the proceedings in Case 002/02 before 29 December 2014, when the brief on Khieu Samphan’s appeal in Case 002/01 is due.
Before adjourning, the Chamber noted that its primary responsibility is to commence and conduct the trial in Case 002/02 in a fair and expeditious manner for the interests of justice to prevail. The Chamber noted that none of its concessions, including a reduction in trial days from three days a week to two days a week, have succeeded in bringing the counsel for Khieu Samphan back into the courtroom.
Despite previously clearly finding that the conduct of the Khieu Samphan Defence is obstructing proceedings, the Chamber stated that it had no reasonable alternative but to adjourn the case until January 2015 as any effort to replace the Khieu Samphan Defence team at this time would result in a substantial delay in the trial due to questions of new counsel availability and familiarity with the voluminous case file. Having previously advised Khieu Samphan that the right to counsel of his choosing is not absolute, the Chamber announced that it would continue to pursue further steps, including the possible appointment of additional counsel and the referral of counsel’s misconduct to the appropriate professional body as per Internal Rule 38.
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