Right to Reasoned Judgment
Throughout the course of Case 002/01, parties of the court continued to struggle with the absence of a “Reasoned Judgment” from the Trial Chamber. The Right to a Reasoned Judgment was clearly articulated by the Supreme Court Chamber in response to alleged misconduct by International Counsel for Nuon Chea, Andrew Ianuzzi. The Supreme Court Chamber ruled that Ianuzzi did not commit any misconduct in filing multiple Rule 35 applications for summary action, stating the Trial Chamber lacked clarity. In it’s ruling, the Supreme Court Chamber defined the Right to Reasoned Judgment stating, “A court’s decision must display indicia of an authoritative judicial act. In this respect, it is necessary for a judicial decision to dispose of a legal matter before it in a definite manner.” The Chamber further specified that the right to receive a reasoned decision “form part of the right to be heard.” (See Case 002 KRT Monitor Report Issue 36)
The Trial Chamber often failed to provide reasoned judgments, rather opting for case-by-case rulings. This was evident when the Trial Chamber failed to definitively rule on whether parties might ask Witnesses to comment on statements made by future potential witnesses. (See Issue 24)
The Right to Reasoned Judgment became a particularly salient issue during the discussion of the severance order for Case 02/01 and the scope of the trial. Defense Teams for Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, and Kheiu Samphan maintained that no witnesses, including Expert Witnesses Philip Short and Elizabeth Becker, should be called until the Trial Chamber issues a full and reasoned decision on the scope of the trial. (Issue 53) Additionally, the OCP and Civil Party Lawyers requested further clarification if S-21 would be included in the scope of the trial. The Trial Chamber failed to immediately provide a reasoned judgment, but stated it will issue a fully reasoned decision on the severance of Case 002 after hearing testimonies from the medical experts who will review the health and fitness of Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, which occurred two months later.
Additionally, during the Civil Parties testimonies and statements of suffering, the Trial Chamber moved to have Civil Parties dismissed from the stand before the Defense was allowed to respond to their statements to “in order to protect him or her from harsh comments.” This change in procedure followed complaints that comments made by the Defense shed Civil Party Yim Sovann to tears. Despite objections from the Defense, the Trial Chamber did not issue a ruling, however, for the subsequent Civil Parties, Defense Teams were granted the opportunity to make remarks only after the Civil Party had been excused.
In the face of the continued lack of a reasoned judgment from the Trial Chamber, International Counsel for Khieu Samphan, Arthur Vercken objected to the continuation of proceedings in the absence of the written decision on the severance of Case 002/01 from the Trial Chamber. Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn gave no indication of when the written decision would be issued. (Se Issue 56).
Authored by: Andrew Grant