Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KRT civil parties say reparations benefit NGOs, not victims

KRT civil parties say reparations benefit NGOs, not victims

KRT civil parties say reparations benefit NGOs, not victims

Four civil parties to the Khmer Rouge tribunal – who said they represented the interests of more than 1,400 civil parties in the court's Case 002 – yesterday condemned the body's commitment to "collective and moral" reparations rather than individual monetary compensation.

In a statement released one day before today's opening statements in Case 002/02, the civil parties argued that collective and moral reparations – which include projects such as memorials and mental health programs – were simply to the benefit of the tribunal and the various NGOs involved, not to those who suffered under the Khmer Rouge regime.

"We were deeply disappointed by the court decision for the civil reparations. After sentencing the accused, all the reparations showed clearly that [they were] meaningless actions for the victims and for the civil parties as well," the statement reads.

The "stupid" projects that seemingly reflect just the will of the court and NGOs, the statement adds, are "not reparations in compliance with the [wishes of] civil parties".

Pen Soeun, one of the four signatories to the statement, said yesterday that he would submit a petition to the tribunal, the Council of Ministers, six foreign embassies and the UN today.

Though Soeun said that he has no official capacity as a civil party representative, he maintained yesterday that his views reflected those of other civil parties "because they are victims, like me".

"What [the court] said about compensation for victims is not true. It is all speech to disguise" that there are no individual reparations, Soeun said. "Other victims, they don't understand about this verdict, but I know."

Though the matter of individual reparations has been raised repeatedly by civil parties at meetings over the years, the court has remained steadfast on its ruling.

Nonetheless, Soeun said yesterday, that he and his supporters "hope the court will change it".

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