Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Clarifying rights of civil parties

Clarifying rights of civil parties

Clarifying rights of civil parties

17 KR

Dear Editor,

It would appear that the author of the article “Case 003, 004 victims told how to apply as civil parties” published on June 4, 2013, has misinterpreted a simple expression of respect for the presumption of innocence during judicial investigations in our new information leaflet for Civil Party Applicants.

After having quoted a third party’s suggestion that the future of cases 003 and 004 before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) “remained far from certain”, the reporter appears to substantiate this claim by referring to a phrase from our information leaflet: “Indeed, the new leaflet discusses trials for cases 003 and 004 in conditional terms: If a case goes to trial, all Civil Parties will form one consolidated group.”

On the contrary, the terms “if a case goes to trial” simply recognise the legal reality of judicial investigations. Indeed, any defendant before the ECCC has the right to be presumed innocent at all stages of the proceedings, unless he or she has been found guilty through a final judgment.

The fact that a judicial investigation has been opened against a person does not imply that this person is guilty of having committed crimes. It is only after the conclusion of the impartial judicial investigation, seeking both inculpatory and exonerating evidence, that the Co-Investigating Judges will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to indict suspects and send them for trial for crimes within the jurisdiction of the ECCC, or dismiss the case.

If there would be an automatic expectation that a case would go trial once a judicial investigation has commenced, the defendant would in fact be presumed guilty until proven innocent. This is certainly not the case in the proceedings before the ECCC or before the Cambodian Courts.

For the record, the ECCC has used the conditional term “If a case goes to trial” in public information and outreach material prepared for all four cases before the court.

Lars Olsen,
Legal Communications Officer,
ECCC.

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber

  • Kim Sok to keep up fight ‘for change’ from Finland

    Kim Sok, wanted by the Kingdom’s authorities for defaming the government, reiterated on Sunday his determination to continue helping to make “a real change” to Cambodian politics after receiving asylum in Finland, even as a government spokesman mocked the political analyst over the development.

  • PM: Programme to recover Vietnam War missing back on

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced the resumption of the MIA programme to recover the remains of American service personnel missing after action on Cambodian soil during the Vietnam War. The programme was suspended for more than a year after the US government imposed visa