Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Civil party participation

Civil party participation

Civil party participation

Dear Editor,

Monday, September 1, saw the start of a weeklong Plenary Session at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). In light of the Pre-Trial Chamber's recent consideration of civil party participation, it appears very likely that discussion of procedures governing such participation will feature high on the Plenary's agenda.

Despite initially adopting a progressive approach, the Pre-Trial Chamber's treatment of civil party participation has been restrictive of late.  On July 1, for example, the Judges refused to allow an unrepresented civil party to address the Chamber in person.  This has caused many to question whether the Judges remain committed to the continued implementation of a system of meaningful participation for victims.  The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee has expressed concern that the Judges may amend the Internal Rules (IRs) at the Plenary to limit civil parties' rights.While recognising that inappropriately managed civil party participation may cause delay, we urge the Judges to respect civil parties' existing rights.

 

At present the IRs reflect the relevant Cambodian procedures for civil party participation and accord civil parties various rights, including the right to introduce evidence and summon witnesses, the right to request reparation and the right to (but not requirement of) legal representation.

Any limitation of civil parties' rights beyond these limits would violate the ECCC Law and UN-RGC Agreement. Furthermore, the Judges should remember that civil parties have joined the proceedings expecting to be treated as full parties.  Restriction of civil parties' rights would cause disappointment and compromise their ability to participate as full parties.  Instead, the Judges should commit themselves to more robust management of the proceedings.

Terith Chy (Team Leader)

Sarah Thomas (Legal Fellow)

Victim Participation Project (VPA)

Documentation Centre of Cambodia 

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National