Civil Party lawyers at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have filed a formal complaint with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights about the handling of civil party applications in the tribunal’s controversial cases 003 and 004.
The complaint, which was directed to the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges on October 25, stated the rejection of civil party applications in cases 003 and 004 was “outrageous”.
Civil Party lawyers also believe there are “serious flaws” with the handling of civil parties at the tribunal.
“There have been no outreach activities to educate victims how to apply for civil party status in cases 003 and 004,” Civil Party lawyer Silke Studzinsky said yesterday.
“The court also communicated directly with the civil parties without keeping their lawyers informed,” she added. “We have no idea how many rejections there have been because we are unable to communicate with our clients in the provinces regularly – with no internet and no telephone it is very difficult.”
Forms to apply to be a civil party where not available on the tribunal’s website before the cut-off date for Case 003 applications, Studzinsky said, prejudicing victims living overseas who wanted to apply.
At the time of writing, it appears the forms were still not available on the tribunal website. Representatives from the Victims Support Section at the court were not available for comment yesterday.
Cases 003 and 004 have been mired in controversy since the tribunal’s inception. The Royal Government has repeatedly protested any further prosecutions after Case 002.
Almost the entire staff of the office investigating cases 003 and 004 walked away from the tribunal earlier this year, allegedly in objection to the botched investigations being conducted by the two judges, You Bunleng and Siegfried Blunk.
German judge Siegfried Blunk quit the tribunal in October, citing government interference in his judicial work as the motivating factor behind his resignation.
His UN-appointed replacement has yet to assume duties at the court.