Four villagers from Kampot Province -- including two women and one couple -- have filed complaints with the tribunal's Victims Unit claiming they were forcibly married by the Khmer Rouge.
These are not the first civil party applications based on the concept of forced marriages as persecution. In September, a transgendered DK victim filed an application with the court, asserting that Khmer Rouge cadres threatened her with death if she refused to marry a woman.
According to a release from civil party lawyer Silke Studzinsky, the most recent complainants also allege that if they refused the forced marriages, they would be sent to "re-education" (which they understood to mean certain death). The victims report that they were introduced to their future spouses -- who they had never met before -- and the same day ordered to spend the night together.
"In one case, 24 couples were lodged in one long hut separated by palm leaves into 24 small mat size sections," according to the release. "There, the new couples were forced to spend the night together, for periods ranging from one night to one month. During the nights, they report that they spied spiders (cchlob) under the huts, positioned to ensure the newly-created couples followed Angkar's orders."
Civil party attorneys assert that the mass weddings were ordered from top leadership to increase the population and create more children for the revolution.
"They will argue that the ECCC should read these facts as an order by the senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea to rape the women and as a sexual assault against the men, and as such constitute crimes against humanity, in particular rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity," civil party attorneys argue.
I find the issue of forced marriages in general very interesting, as it highlights the degree of drastic social re-organization under Democratic Kampuchea. Essentially, the Khmer Rouge created a society where nearly every element of daily life could be considered a human rights violation under international law. ??/p>