More than 100 people who will serve as civil party representatives in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s upcoming case gathered in Phnom Penh yesterday to understand the role they will play when the case heads to trial.
The meeting was organised by local rights group Adhoc, which is providing training and guidance to the representatives ahead of the tribunal’s second case, due to begin within the next four months. Adhoc assisted 1,058 of the 2,123 civil parties who have been admitted so far to participate in the case.
This is a mechanism to ensure the effectiveness of the plaintiffs.
The 122 representatives receiving training this week will serve as liaisons over the course of the trial to other admitted civil parties, not all of whom will be able to appear in court, Adhoc project coordinator Latt Ky said. They were elected by other civil parties during meetings last year.
“This is a mechanism to ensure the effectiveness of the plaintiffs in participating in the process of receiving justice from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia,” Latt Ky said, using the tribunal’s formal moniker.
Just 90 civil parties participated for the duration of the tribunal’s first case, that of Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav. The scope of the second case is vastly wider, however, covering crimes sites all over the country.
To account for the correspondingly larger number of civil parties admitted, the court adopted rule changes last year intended to “streamline” civil party participation that will limit the number who can appear in court.
Among these changes was the establishment of “lead” civil party lawyers who will direct courtroom representation and overall strategy for the admitted parties.
International co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley said at the meeting yesterday that his office was working to expedite proceedings at the tribunal to ensure that the ageing accused live to see the end of their trial, though he noted that the court’s lack of funding was a concern.
United Nations court spokesman Lars Olsen said last month that the tribunal was short roughly $20 million in funding for this year.