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S-21 survivor Chum Mey (right) attends a civil party discussion yesterday in Phnom Penh
S-21 survivor Chum Mey (right) attends a civil party discussion yesterday in Phnom Penh. Daniel Quinlan

Second phase of KRT case set

The Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday set a date for the first hearing in upcoming Case 002/02, instructing parties to appear in court on July 30 to begin hammering out the particulars of how the second subtrial in the court’s flagship case will proceed.

According to a filing from the court’s trial chamber, the initial hearing will hew strictly to matters concerning the new subtrial’s sequence, civil parties’ proposals for new reparations projects and outstanding preliminary objections and other legal issues pertaining to the new case.

“The Chamber will not hear oral argument during the hearing in relation to any issue other than those indicated above,” the filing reads.

Coincidentally, the announcement that the initial hearing would deal with civil party reparations came on a day when civil party lawyers and others had gathered to discuss just that.

Reparations requests in recently ended Case 002/01 have been finalised and – in all but one instance – funded, but the process of securing the money was long and arduous, at times requiring the help of civil party lawyers themselves.

As lead national civil party co-lawyer Pich Ang put it yesterday: “The purpose of holding today’s session is to start [the reparations process] as soon as possible.

“From the experience we had in Case 002/01, we spent a lot of time to develop and prepare the projects, and after that, we had some time to do the fundraising, and the time was very limited,” he said.

The court’s current financial stability should make things easier this time around, he added.

Several of the proposals distributed at yesterday’s meeting had relevance to specific charges in Case 002/02, like sexual violence, and genocide against the Vietnamese and the Cham.

To those ends, one program would offer vocational training to the children of forced marriages; another would seek to help ethnic Vietnamese Cambodians whose families lost documentation of their citizenship under the Khmer Rouge. Yet another would provide access to free health care.

“I think that makes a lot of sense, because of the crimes we’re dealing with in this case – torture, enslavement – that created very real physical ailments,” civil party consultant Katrina Natale said.

Civil party and S-21 survivor Chum Mey, who attended yesterday’s forum, said he was “pleased” with the discussions, and said that tangible reparations had intangible benefits.

“It is psychological reparation,” he said.

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