Civil parties and the KRT

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea on a live video
Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea on a live video as people line up to attend the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders in Phnom Penh in October. AFP

Civil parties and the KRT

Dear Editor,

Having read the article titled “KRT civil parties meet to assess future”, published on the December 24, 2013, I would like to express some comments and clarifications.

It is clear that civil parties have two main concerns at this stage: the decision in case 002/01, including reparation, and how the second sub trial can be envisaged and started.

I will shortly come back to the reparation, to recall that in our submission, filed on the 8th October 2013, and in our final oral submission, on the 16th October, we were very clear on the fact that at this stage, we have not found all the financing for the reparation projects and on the fact that, because of this, we could not perfectly finalise all our projects.

Then, it is not surprising that the TC also highlights the lack of funding in itself.

But I would also like to recall that we have often insisted on the fact that we, as Civil Party, should not have to “fully secure funding”. I would like to insist again (as I did many times), on the fact that it was unfair to put this charge on the civil parties.

It would be more unfair to reproach the lack of funding to the civil parties, if this lack of funding remains a reality in the future.

On the second sub trial, I read in the article that CPs produced a statement saying that they “want the trial on the evidence in case 002/02 to start as soon as possible, without waiting until a verdict in case 002/01 is issued”.

I think there is a misunderstanding about the civil parties’ position and their statement.

You will find (below) the true statement issued at the forum. This statement mentions that civil parties want: 1) the judgment in case 002/01 to be delivered expeditiously, and 2) evidentiary hearings in case 002/02 to start as soon as possible.

This is quite different. We can see that civil parties have to appreciate and reconcile two things in the same time.

They have to appreciate their interest balancing the verdict in the first trial and the start of the second trial.

This is not very easy for them and in any case, they need to be at least completely and seriously informed and aware of all parameters.

At this point, I am happy to see that a lot of people seem to be preoccupied by the civil parties’ interest. Doing so, they have to well inform them, like we, civil party lawyers, we have done from the start of the trial, even when it was not very easy to do so.

Obviously, all civil parties, or at least a great majority of them, wish to see case 002/02 start as soon as possible. In the same time, all civil parties are strongly impatient to have a verdict in case 002/01.

They are looking forward to having this verdict as a result of the two last years, and as a necessary completion.

If we want to protect the civil parties’ interest, our duty is certainly not to give them shortened information. It is certainly not to let them think that case 002/02 could start in February 2014 when the Trial Chamber has already said that it would be impossible.

Our duty is certainly not to let the civil parties think that case 002/02 could be finished very quickly when experience shows that we need about two years more.

Our duty is certainly not to hide the serious legal issues at this stage, and that starting case 002/02 now would necessarily delay the verdict in case 002/01.

Our duty is certainly not to hide the current financial issues which undermine the ECCC’s work developments.

Our duty is certainly not to hide the fact that, if just starting case 002/02 could be rather easy, what we have to think about is how we can ensure its good completion despite all the abovementioned obstacles.

That is why, during the forum stated in December, the civil party lawyers took time to explain all things.

And that is why it is important to take into account the right statement expressed by the civil parties. They want to start case 002/02 “as soon as possible” (not “immediately” as said in the article), but they first want the judgment in case 002/01 to be issued “expeditiously”.

Issuing a decision in case 002/01 has been raised as an urgency during all the hearings of the past two years. We, at the ECCC, all know that point, just because we all have insisted on this urgency.

We, at the ECCC, also all know that completing case 002/02 will not be an easy task.

These are all things that civil parties deserve to know, if we want to protect their interests.

Elisabeth Simonneau Fort
International Lead Co Lawyer for Civil Party.

We, approximately 200 Civil Parties in Case 002 against the Accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan from Battambang, Pailin, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Kratie and Phnom Penh who attended the Regional Civil Party Forum on 23 December 2013 in Phnom Penh, wish to express our position that we would like the Court to 1.) deliver the judgment in Case 002/01 expeditiously and 2.) to commence the evidentiary hearings in Case 002/02 as soon as possible in view of both our and the Accused’s age and health condition and the burden on stakeholders to finance the ECCC.

We would also like to appeal to all relevant stakeholders to support the ECCC so that the Court can move forward.


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