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The Defence Support Section provides Defence Teams with office space and facilities within the administration building at the ECCC. Each team has computer facilities and access to the legal resources of the DSS in electronic and paper form. Teams are able to use the meeting rooms and other facilities of the ECCC in order to undertake their work more effectively.
ECCC Legal Assistance Scheme
The DSS is also responsible for the Legal Assistance Scheme (LAS), which is designed to ensure effective representation for accused persons who lack the resources to pay for their lawyers. The LAS borrows concepts from other domestic and international criminal tribunals in order to create a system that is effective and efficient.
The guiding principles of the Legal Assistance Scheme are the following:
- Effective representation. The LAS is designed to ensure that each charged person or accused is defended by an effective team of lawyers.
- Equality of arms. Defence lawyers will be paid the same as prosecutors, with an uplift to reflect the cost of being self-employed.
- Transparency. A fully transparent scheme will avoid disputes arising as to what is payable and what is not
The LAS provides for a team of lawyers for each accused, and promotes good case management by requiring the lawyers to plan their work in advance. The key features of the LAC are:
- Co-Lawyers. Each indigent accused may be represented by one Cambodian lawyer and one foreign lawyer. This reflects the situation with the Co-Investigating Judges and the Co-Prosecutors, allowing for expertise in both Cambodian law and international law.
- Defence Teams. Co-Lawyers are unlikely to be able to work on cases full time at all stages of the trial process. They may be assisted by a Legal Consultant and a Case Manager who are contracted by the DSS to work on a case. There are expected to be large amounts of evidence which will need to be analysed. Using a team will ensure the efficient preparation of the case.
- Stages of a case. The members of the Defence Team will vary depending on the stage of the case. In the investigative stage, it is expected that Co-Lawyers will spend no more than 50% of their time working on the case, whilst the Legal Consultants and Case Managers will be working full time. In the trial stage, the entire team will be working full time.
- Living expenses. The fee for foreign lawyers will contain an element to cover the costs of working in Cambodia, in lieu of any daily subsistence or living allowance.
- Budget ceilings. The ECCC will follow the example of other courts and use monthly budget ceilings in order to monitor and control costs. The monthly ceiling will be based on the maximum estimated work load during that particular stage.
- Action Plans. The Co-Lawyers will be required to produce and agree an action plan outlining in detail the tasks that they have to complete and allocating work to the other members of the team. As a rule, only pre-agreed tasks will be paid for, although exceptions may be made for necessary and reasonable work that arises unexpectedly.
- Hourly and daily rate. Co-Lawyers will be paid an hourly preparation rate. Once the trial stage begins they will be paid a daily court rate.
- Timesheets. In order to be paid, Co-Lawyers will have to complete time sheets for their preparatory work and for court days giving details of tasks that have been completed. Legal Consultants and Case Managers will only have to fill in a simple summary of work completed.
- Office costs. The DSS will provide office facilities for Defence Teams. No additional office costs will be paid.
- Travel to Cambodia. Foreign Co-Lawyers must seek prior authorisation for flights, which will either be booked by the ECCC Travel Unit or self-ticketed.
- Interpretation. The DSS will have in-house interpreters to assist Defence Teams. In addition, Defence Teams are able to use interpreters and translators from the Court Management Section pool.
- Fee Claims. Co-Lawyers will be paid each month for the work that they have completed, in accordance with a fixed timetable for the submission of completed timesheets and fee claims. Fee Payment Claims will normally be paid in full but the DSS will reserve the right to refuse full payment in the following circumstances:
- If work has not been carried out,
- If work was not agreed in advance and was not necessary and reasonable, or
- If the work was agreed in advance but the hours claimed are greater than envisaged and no reasonable explanation was provided.
- Foreign Co-Lawyers are paid the same fee as foreign prosecutors at the ECCC at the level of 10 years experience. The fee is set at a P5 salary. Following the precedent of the ICTY and the ICC, Co-Lawyers are entitled to an uplift of between 10% and 40% to cover their additional professional costs.
- Cambodian Co-Lawyers are paid the same fee as national prosecutors at the ECCC at their level of experience, and so the fee varies depending on the experience that they have. Cambodian Co-Lawyers are also entitled to an uplift of between 10% and 40% to cover their additional professional costs.
- Legal Consultants are paid the same fee as prosecutors at their level, i.e. a UN P3 level. Legal Consultants are hired by the DSS and assigned to work on a case full time under the supervision of the Co-Lawyers. They will normally work in the DSS offices.
- Case Managers are paid at the same rate as their national counterparts in the prosecution at the ECCC. They are also contracted by the DSS to be assigned to a Defence Team and are required to work in the DSS office