ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Individual Japanese Businessman Gives Reparations to KR Victims

Individual Japanese Businessman Gives Reparations to KR Victims


A while back (4 Feb 2007) there was a report by Ky Soklim and Olivia Doerge about a Japanese businessman, Haruhisa Handa, who established a fund for Khmer Rouge victims and already began distributing its largess to various communities across Cambodia. The report pointed out that Handa handed out $100,000 in Batey District of Kompong Cham Province in cash alone. According to the report the overall largess of the fund currently stands at $ 3.3 million. Handa distributed the money in envelopes inscribed with “Please forgive the Khmer Rouge. Forgiveness is self-saving”.
It appears that the methodology of assigning the reparations was based on the idea of compensating widows and people who had lost their family members during the regime. Although the report doesn’t elucidate on other facets of this methodology, it reveals that besides Kompong Cham Province similar distributions will be made in the provinces of Kandal, Kompong Speu and Kompong Thom – all provinces being central and in fairly close proximity to Phnom Penh.
There were indications in the report of the favorable reception of the distributions by the Cambodian government and the recipients of the payments, none from those who – according to what seems to be the methodology behind the distributions – didn’t receive an envelope with $100.
The idea of reparations per se is doubtless a worthy cause, however, with the ECCC attempting to proceed and, potentially, at some point answer the question of the criminality of the Khmer Rouge during its effective control of the entirety of Cambodia, which lasted from 17 April 1975 to 7 January 1979. If the ECCC process is understood as an honest inquiry into the criminality of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), better known as the Khmer Rouge, and its individual “leaders and those most responsible”, reparations paid before the judicial process is completed will indubitably help pre-judge those who will end up in the dock, at least in the court of public opinion.
To the best of this author’s knowledge the Japanese government has not commented on this act of individual generosity, although Japan is a significant contributor to the ECCC and is otherwise committed to the process.
What is interesting about this particular piece of news is that it came and went completely unnoticed and didn’t merit a fraction of the attention other developments in and around the ECCC normally would merit. Most recently StarNews Asia made a report to, in essence, to point out that there had been no significant breakthroughs in the work of the ECCC.
With all the talk about the ECCC’s aspiration for fair trials by all parties involved wouldn’t merit some type of a reparation policy that would strike a fair balance between the interests of the defendants and those who will be considered their victims, should the behavior of the former during the period of Democratic Kampuchea be found criminal by the ECCC.

Stan Starygin


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