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.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The American Response to the Pre-Trial Chamber's Solicitation


by Stan Starygin

This tribunal has been an incredible experience for all involved, thus far, in a wide variety of respects. Without attempting to treat each and every one of them in this short piece, I will focus on the issue of popular participation, instead.

For years leading up to the establishment of the ECCC, there had been a lot of talk about how much or how little the Cambodian public was interested in having a tribunal to try the Khmer Rouge. There were zealots who contended that the Cambodian people were crying out for a tribunal of this type. Others went even further and argued that there was a strong sense of standing up against impunity ingrained in Cambodian society. There were also those who believed that the process was being driven by a small group of expatriates and Cambodian Americans and was picked up by the Cambodian government for political reasons which then was held in a firm grip by the same small group of expatriates and Cambodian Americans.

Which segments of the general public are interested in the process came to a test in the most recent solicitation of amicus curiae briefs by the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) of the ECCC in the case of Kaing Guek Iev. 6 briefs were submitted, written by 6 individuals who wrote on behalf of themselves and organizations that they represented, and somewhat of the mix of the two. All these individuals were American (disclaimer: I am not aware of the authorship of the 6-page brief submitted by CHRAC, a coalition of 23 human rights NGOs). This is not to suggest that these Americans are in any way associated with the United States government, which, as of today, has not joined the ranks of the tribunal's supporters, but to point out the undeniable fact that Americans, and not Cambodians, are the ones who had contributed to the process.

If the Cambodian public is as interested as it was avered by some prior to the establishment of the tribunal, where's the input of Cambodia's intellectual elite? Where are the Cambodian law professors and legal analysts on this? Where's the ubiquitous Bar Association which seems to have an opinion about everything associated with the tribunal, but substantive matters of legal analysis requested to be produced for no remuneration and as the legal community's response to a legal issue before the PTC?


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