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, July 9, 2007


Stan Starygin

As the process of discussion of the possibility of reparations in Cambodia for the alleged crimes of the Khmer Rouge goes ahead, Thiery Cruvellier of the ECCC is quoted as saying that "there could be compensation to console the victims" (Rasmei Kampuchea, vol.15, #4327, Wednesday, July 04, 2007) and that in the case of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) it took the form of building "free-of-charge schools and hospitals for the victims and their children".

It is not clear why Mr. Cruvellier chose to refer to the building of free-of-charge institutions of K-12 education as a form of reparation and exactly what philosophy was used to underpin this argument. The philosophy upon which the international law on the rights of the child was constructed clearly associates the provision of free K-12 (up age 18) education with government obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), as it states that "primary education [must be] compulsory and available free to all" (Art. 28/1/a). If read together with Article 4 of the CRC which places an obligation upon the States Parties to the Convention, all primary (K-12) education must be made available free-of-charge "to the maxim extent of their [States Parties] available resources". The principle upheld by these two articles -- boiled down its bare essentials -- can be construed as a mandate of the CRC that the States Parties muster up ALL their available resources to achieve as broad access to K-12 education as possible.

Considering the above argument, how then can the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) swing killing two birds with one stone -- fulfill an international obligation which it voluntarily undertook and pay reparations for the alleged mass crimes? Would this be merely a matter of putting a spin on the kind of effort that is already underway independently from the ECCC and putting a second label on it, rather than affording meaningful reparations? Isn't the very idea of reparations to bring along additional efforts to alleviate the condition of the victims, rather then re-labling institutions and efforts that are already there and to which the state acquiesced voluntarily and within a completely unrelated to reparations framework?


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