Civil parties to the Khmer Rouge tribunal gathered yesterday to receive updates and give feedback on the court’s progress, only days after the trial chamber posted a filing noting the lack of funding for and insufficient details on some of the parties’ proposed reparations projects.
Yesterday’s meeting also produced a statement in which civil parties called for proceedings in the second sub-trial of Case 002 to begin immediately.
“Around 200 civil parties in Case 002 . . . would like to affirm that we want the trial on the evidence in Case 002/02 to start as soon as possible, without waiting until a verdict in 002/01 is issued,” the statement reads. “We say this due to our age and health, as well as the suspects’ health, becoming worse while waiting for verdicts.”
However, the trial chamber has recently said it would not be forming a second panel of judges to hear the case, and expressed scepticism at a recent trial management meeting about the feasibility of hearing the second case while still drafting the verdict in the first.
Victims also brought up the subject of reparations, with some arguing that individual monetary reparations – something that the court cannot offer – should be reconsidered.
“I heard about them building a memorial stupa for victims as collective reparation,” said Bun Sarin, 62. “We accept this, but we also want individual reparation. My house during the Khmer Rouge regime was destroyed. My rice fields, my cows were all gone.”
However, 33-year-old Buth Kimse, who represented her 60-year-old mother yesterday, said that collective reparations would suffice.
“[The court is] about healing our pain that remains from the Khmer Rouge,” he said. “Some would like to have individual reparation, but I think ‘how can the court pay them?’, because millions of people are the victims of the Khmer Rouge. Collective reparation is enough.”
One attendee of yesterday’s conference who works closely with civil parties and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that organisers had explained that even collective reparations would have individual benefits.
“From our side . . . we said it is true that we can’t have individual reparations, but some of the reparations will help individuals, especially the group therapy with the [Transcultural Psychosocial Organization],” the person said.
However, even collective reparations are still up in the air, according to a trial chamber filing released on Friday that notes that civil party lawyers “have not fully secured funding for a number of projects”, and that some of the proposed projects have not been presented in enough detail. The chamber also set a March 31 deadline on the submission of further funding updates.