The lead civil party lawyers in Case 002 of the Khmer Rouge tribunal have submitted a list of seven prioritised reparations projects to the court, but realities may delay, or even preclude, their establishment.
Drawn up after years of consultation with civil parties victimised by the Khmer Rouge regime, and described in detail in a submission on Tuesday to the Trial Chamber, the projects focus mainly on psychological support, education and various forms of official remembrance.
The tribunal has a mandate to provide justice to victims through “moral and collective” reparations. In this case, should the suggested reparations all come to fruition, justice would take shape in the forms of a public memorial, a national remembrance day, testimonial therapy, self-help groups, a book on victim participation and forced population transfer, as well as two exhibitions, one mobile, one permanent, explaining the crimes and legacy of the Khmer Rouge.
But the success of these proposals hinges on several contingencies, including funding – which is far from guaranteed – and guilty verdicts.
“These reparations would still have to be awarded by the Trial Chamber, and is also dependent on an accused being convicted,” said tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen.
According to the filing, the Victims Support Section (VSS), which is supposed to be responsible for fundraising, has said “no funds have been secured for reparations thus far”.
Im Sophea, head of VSS, could not be reached yesterday.
Elisabeth Simonneau Fort, one of the lead co-lawyers representing civil parties, said that the only concern she has regards the financial part.
“Some projects could be reduced if necessary. I hope it won’t be too much. We can reduce some or not if some donors want. We are very flexible,” she said.
In the filing, the lawyers also not that, because the Supreme Court Chamber on February 8 invalidated the severance order that broke up Case 002 into smaller “mini-trials”, they “reserve the right” to revise the reparations request once the final determination for the scope of the trial has been made.
The projects were devised, Simonneau Fort said, with forced transfer, which is the main focus of the first mini-trial, in mind.
But they were also specifically designed to have a broad relevance to victims.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Freeman at [email protected]