Som Sotheavy, who on Wednesday became the first civil party at Cambodia’s Extraordinary Chambers to lodge a complaint pertaining to gender-related crimes, breaks down at a press conference.
A TRANSGENDERED woman advanced civil-party participation at the Extraordinary Chambers on Wednesday, becoming the first victim of sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge to file a complaint with the UN-backed court.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Som Sotheavy broke down as she explained how she was sexually assaulted, gang-raped and brutalised by prison officers during the 1975-79 regime. "I could never have imagined to this day that my story would be told," she said, wiping back tears.
Som Sotheavy becomes the court's first civil party to lodge a complaint pertaining to gender-related crimes.
Civil party lawyer Silke Stuzinsky said the complaint was a symbolic moment for the tribunal.
"It is time to dispel the widespread myth that sexual violence did not occur under the Khmer Rouge," she said.
Som Sotheavy was confident that the court would help her to come to terms with the crimes she suffered, which included being threatened with death if she did not marry and have sex with a woman. "I believe that the hybrid court will find justice for me," she said.
Representatives of the Victims Unit expressed hope that the complaint would encourage more victims of sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge regime to come forward.