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New KRT reparations sought

Artist Phou Séra Ing’s sculptures, seen here in miniature, evoke suffering endured under the Khmer Rouge
Artist Phou Séra Ing’s sculptures, seen here in miniature, evoke suffering endured under the Khmer Rouge. They are part of a planned memorial in Phnom Penh included in a list of reparations projects. PHOTO SUPPLIED

New KRT reparations sought

With all but a verdict in Case 002/01 behind them, civil party lawyers at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are already ramping up efforts to propose a new list of reparations geared towards the victims of crimes to be tried in upcoming Case 002/02, the court announced yesterday.

According to the announcement, civil party lawyers, the court’s Victims Support Section (VSS), donors, civil society representatives and civil parties themselves are slated to gather to discuss proposals and to “develop a diverse range of reparation requests that will address the harm suffered as a consequence of the crimes charged”.

Though any reparations granted in Case 002/01 in the event of a conviction will be granted in the name of all the civil parties in Case 002 as a whole, some were conceived with the specific charges in Case 002/01 in mind –for example, a statue evoking the forced march out of Phnom Penh.

Likewise, VSS representative Hang Vannak said, reparations in Case 002/02 should address the specific needs of its victims as well.

“They suffered the harm, so they know what they want. The reparations projects have to be based on their requests,” Vannak said. “But also, there are also many actors who play important roles in the field . . . so we need to bring them together to discuss this.”

Cambodian Justice Initiative program officer Panhavuth Long agreed yesterday, saying that it was “important to make sure that [projects] respond to their needs”, while still being representative of all victims.

The early start, Long noted, would also “make the initiative more meaningful and feasible”.

Indeed, securing money for the reparations in Case 002/01 – all but one project received adequate financing – was an arduous slog that at times required the fundraising efforts of civil party lawyers themselves.

“At the time, because of economic recessions, it was difficult to look for funds,” Vannak said yesterday, adding that donors’ participation in next week’s event would offer insight into the availability of funds for future projects.

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