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17 SO WE WILL NEVER FORGET Any person who witnessed, has knowledge, or was a victim of crimes covered within the jurisdiction of the ECCC can file as a complainant. Complaints can be broad and related to any alleged criminal acts within the jurisdiction of the ECCC. The co-prosecutors can commence an investigation based on a complaint or other information they have gathered. Then victims or anyone else who has information that can prove guilt or innocence can be brought as witnesses. Once a person has been designated as a witness, the Witness Expert Support Unit is responsible for coordinating protection matters at all stages of the proceedings as well as providing support services to protect witnesses from emotional and psychological stress.

To join a case as civil party, the applicant must have suffered harm as a result of crimes committed within the ECCC’s jurisdiction and the case must be under investigation by the co-investigating judges.

In practice, this means that the alleged crime in the application has to be part of the initial or any supplementary submission.42 As ruled by the Pre-Trial Chamber, civil parties are considered a party in the same way as the prosecution and defense and thus have the right to participate in all parts of the proceedings.43 Recently, the Pre-Trial Chamber has ruled that civil parties could only address the court through their lawyer or when the court accepts their request to do so, if they are not represented44 and the internal rules have limited the period for civil party applications.45 Civil parties are entitled to legal representation which is assumed either by a Cambodian lawyer or by an international lawyer in collaboration with a Cambodian lawyer. Civil parties can also apply through various victim associations. Only Civil Parties will be entitled to reparations.

OuTREach aNd paRTIcIpaTION

Another ECCC unit of importance is Public Affairs which provides information about the court to the public, media, and other interested parties. Its main activities include outreach, media relations, and audio/video recording of the proceedings.46 The office of Public Affairs has developed booklets, posters, stickers, a website, and a newsletter, Court Report, to address the information needs of the public at large. The office also meets regularly with the media and participates in activities related to 42 This is an important point as the initial and supplementary submissions are confidential. For information regarding application process, see “Victim Participation, Practice Direction 02/2007/Rev.1,” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/160/PD_Victims_Participation_ rev1_En.pdf.

43 For more details on the ruling, see “PTC decision on civil participation in provisional detention appeals, Criminal Case File #002/19-09-2007-ECCC/OCIJ(PTC01),” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/53/PTC_decision_civil_party_nuon_chea_C11_53_EN.pdf.

44 For more details on the ruling, see “Public Directions on Unrepresented Civil Parties’ Rights to Address the Pre-Trail Chamber in Person, Criminal Case File #002/19-09-2007-ECCC/OCIJ(PTC03),” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/127/C22_I_69_EN_Directions_ on_unrepresented_civil_parties.pdf.

45 Previously, civil party applications were considered until the opening of the proceedings before the Trial Chamber.

In the revised internal rules, “civil party applications must be filed within the Victims Unit at least 10 (ten) working days before the initial hearing.” See, “Internal Rules (rev. 2)” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, 5 September 2008, rule 23, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/internal_rules.aspx.

46 The information on Public Affairs is drawn from the ECCC website, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/public_ affairs.aspx.

A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers In the Courts of Cambodia the ECCC organized by nongovernmental organizations. However, a lack of funding has prevented the office from implementing a comprehensive outreach program. As a result, civil society organizations have stepped in to fill the gap.

Several nongovernmental organizations have developed outreach programs related to the court. The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) has been working on the Khmer Rouge era for more than 10 years. Other organizations such as the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, the Khmer Institute of Democracy, the Center for Social Development, Cambodian Defenders Project, Legal Aid of Cambodia, Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, International Center for Conciliation, Youth for Peace, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, Youth Resources Development Program, and others have provided outreach services. Their mandates, target populations,

and activities vary greatly. However, their activities can be grouped into two broad categories:

disseminating information and participating in ECCC proceedings. Many of these groups also try to “manage” Cambodians’ expectations towards the court. In addition, Open Society Justice Initiative hosts monthly meetings ensuring exchange of information among nongovernmental organizations and between nongovernmental organizations and the court.


Local nongovernmental organizations have played a key role in disseminating information about the court both nationally and internationally. This is done through the distribution of written, visual, and audio materials; facilitating community meetings or public forums; and helping Cambodians visit the ECCC and commemoration sites. As early as February 2006, the Documentation Center of Cambodia began bringing groups of villagers to visit the court and commemoration sites such as Tuol Sleng and Choeug Ek. Upon return to their communes, participants would inform their families and neighbors.47 The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association also started a vast program of information at the district level informing mixed groups of officials and ordinary citizens about the court.48 The Khmer Institute of Democracy has trained Citizen Advisors who, in turn, inform people in their community about the work of the court. The Center for Social Development has held a series of public forums gathering people at the district level to inform them of the court and provide an opportunity to ask questions of court officials and express their expectations. Youth for Peace and the Youth Resources Development Program have held information sessions to inform young people about the court’s mandate. Nongovernmental organizations have also produced radio programs and distributed brochures and booklets. Mekong Films, in collaboration with East-West Center, the War Crimes Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the ECCC, has produced a series of films about the court which have aired on national television. Open Forum and Open Society Justice Initiative send updates regularly to subscribers of their listservs.

47 Dara P. Vanthan and Dacil Q. Keo, “February ECCC Tour Report” (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Documentation Center of Cambodia, February 2006).

48 The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, “Report on ECCC/ICC Training Sessions” (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: ADHOC, August 2007), 2.


Since 2007, outreach activities have gradually shifted towards encouraging victim participation. The Documentation Center of Cambodia is in the process of gathering 10,000 complaints and civil party applications, while member organizations of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee 49 focus on collecting mostly civil party applications. As of November 2008, the Victims Unit had received 2,500 complaints and civil party applications,50 of which 34 civil parties have been accepted.51 Legal representation is a key issue in the case of civil parties. Several local groups have been working in collaboration with international lawyers, yet more resources, expertise, and funding are needed.


Several surveys prior to 2006 showed strong support for the establishment of the ECCC.52 A survey by the Open Society Justice Initiative in 2005 found that 62 percent of respondents favored the establishment of a court. Fifteen percent said they did not want a court or were not interested, while 23 percent chose not to respond to the question. 53 In February 2008, nineteen months after the establishment of the ECCC, the International Republican Institute found that 71 percent of Cambodians were aware of the court and 69 percent supported trials of top Khmer Rouge leaders.54 In October 2008, the Khmer Institute for Democracy compiled results of questionnaires gathered through their Citizens Advisor program. Out of 9,074 respondents, 8,502 (94%) supported ECCC trials.55 49 CHRAC is an umbrella organization for human rights organizations involved in the process of systematizing civil party information.

50 “Media Alert,” Phnom Penh, ECCC press release, 6 November 2008, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/ press/81/Media_Alert_German_contribution-En.pdf.

51 Personal communication; confidential source.

52 Throughout the last decade, several surveys have been done on public attitudes towards a Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT).

For details on some of the results, see Laura McGrew, “Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Peace in Cambodia” (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Funded by the Canadian Embassy (Canada Funds), February 2000); The Khmer Institute of Democracy, “Survey on the Khmer Rouge Regime and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal 2004,” available at http://www.bigpond.com.kh/ users/kid/KRG-Tribunal.htm; Suzannah Linton, Reconciliation in Cambodia, Documentation Series No.5 (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Documentation Center of Cambodia, 2004), and William Burke-White, “Preferences Matter: Conversations

with the Cambodian People on the Prosecution of the Khmer Rouge Leadership,” in Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice:

Prosecuting Mass Violence before the Cambodian Courts, ed. Jaya Ramji and Beth Van Schaack (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2005).

53 “Strategies for Reaching Rural Communities in Cambodia: Outreach for the Extraordinary Chambers” (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Open Society Justice Initiative, 2006), 24.

54 “Survey of Cambodian Public Opinion” (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: International Republican Institute, January 27 – February 26, 2008), 42, 44.

55 Victim and Witness Project Standards for the ECCC and Beyond Project, “KID-VWP Outreach Survey on Knowledge and Interest in the ECCC” (Phnom Penh, Cambodia: The Khmer Institute of Democracy, October 2008), 4.

A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers In the Courts of Cambodia As of December 2008, the ECCC has arrested and charged five suspects. On July 30, 2007, the co-investigating judges arrested and later charged Kaing Guek Eav (alias Duch), former head of Tuol Sleng (also known as S21) with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Within four months, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and Ieng Thirith 56 were also arrested and charged with similar crimes. In August 2008, the co-investigating judges issued a closing order indicting Duch for crimes against humanity and war crimes57 and ordered continued provisional detention until he is brought before the Trial Chamber.58 Following appeal by the co-prosecutors, Duch is now indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes as well as murder and torture under domestic law.59 56 During the DK regime, Ieng Sary was deputy prime Minister and foreign minister; Khieu Samphan was president; Nuon Chea, also known as “Brother no. 2”, was second in command; and Ieng Thirith was minister of social affairs.

57 See “Closing Order Indicting Kaing Guek Eav Alias Duch,” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, August 8, 2005, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/115/Closing_order_indicting_Kaing_Guek_ Eav_ENG.pdf.

58 Ibid., 45. The co-prosecutors appealed the charges described in the closing order arguing that they should also include murder and torture under domestic law, and joint criminal enterprise (JCE) as a theory of liability. The trial is expected to start during the first quarter of 2009. See “Media Alert: The ECCC Trial Progress,” Phnom Penh, ECCC press release, October 9, 2008.

59 See “Pre-Trial Chamber decision on appeal against closing order indicting Kaing Guek Eav alias ‘Duch’,” Criminal Case File #001/18-07-2007-ECCC/OCIJ(PTC01),” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/198/D99_3_42_EN.pdf.


Researchers randomly sampled and interviewed 1,000 adult residents of Cambodia from 9 September to 1 October 2008. By design, half the respondents were male and half were female.60 The average age of respondents was 39.8 years old (standard deviation, 13.8 years) and a majority of respondents were Khmer (95%). Three out of four respondents (74%) had at least some primary education and 71 percent reported being literate in at least one language.

–  –  –

Over two-thirds of respondents (69%) reported they had lived under the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, while 31 percent said they did not live under the regime.

We found statistically significant differences in attitudes towards the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime, justice, and the ECCC among respondents who had lived under the Khmer Rouge regime and those who were born after it had left power. This report presents the results disaggregated for those two categories. Among the 31 percent respondents who did not live under the Khmer Rouge regime, all but four respondents were not yet born during the Khmer Rouge period. The remaining four were living outside of Cambodia.

60 The respondents’ demographic profiles are similar to that of the general population according to the 2008 census. The 2008 census found that Cambodia’s sex ratio is close to 1 (.94). The 2004 inter-censual survey reports that the overall literacy rate for the adult population is 73.6%.

A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers In the Courts of Cambodia Nationally, 15 percent of respondents reported that they were “old people” or “base people,” terms for those who lived in insurgent zones under the control of the Khmer Rouge and may have contributed in some fashion to the revolution. The vast majority joined the Khmer Rouge before March 18, 1975, the starting date of the war.61 About one in four respondents (23%) described themselves as “new people.” These Cambodians generally lived outside of the Khmer Rouge zones or were evacuated from city dwellings after the war. They were brought into the revolution, usually by force, after the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975.62 Eight percent of the respondents stated that they were too young at the time to fit into any category.

About 7 percent said they were in adult, youth, or child mobile units (work units set up by the regime to fulfill the need for rural labor). Less than 1 percent stated that they were a member of an ethnic minority during the Khmer Rouge period. About 1 percent said they were Khmer Rouge soldiers and 0.3 percent said they participated in a militia group.

–  –  –

61 Elizabeth Becker, When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 226–29.

62 Ibid.

–  –  –


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