The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, on September 8 led the first constitutive meeting of a newly established working group of civil society organisations (CSOs) which discussed ongoing and future work serving the needs of victim-survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The ECCC said in a September 9 press statement that more than 20 people had participated in the meeting, including Hang Vannak, chief of the Victims Support Section, Pich Ang and Falguni Denath, lead co-lawyers for the Civil Parties, Chea Savon, director of the Legal Documentation Center, and 16 representatives of nine civil society organizations.

The meeting follow-ed up on a victim workshop held in May during which a civil society working group was determined to be required to play an active role in victim-centred programmes for the duration of the ECCC.

The statement said that the meeting had produced tangible results, including plans for a neutral secretariat led by civil society organisations and the ECCC. The secretariat will meet monthly through the end of the year to coordinate activities.

“Those present yesterday also agreed that the working group shall remain open to additional participation by any other relevant organisations or institutions with representatives in Cambodia. The administrative structure of this working group will be confirmed in detail at the next meeting in October,” it added.

ECCC is the UN-back tribunal which tries crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity which occurred under the Khmer Rouge regime in the period from 17 April 1975 to 7 January 1979. It is estimated that up to three million people passed away during this period.

The tribunal is approaching closure, with the ECCC set to pronounce the final judgment in Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan, Khmer Rouge head of state, on September 22.