Flashback: Roundup: ECCC overcomes complexity, adopts internal rules for DK trials
Roundup: ECCC overcomes complexity, adopts internal rules for DK trials
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has overcome legal complexity and adopted the internal rules for the trials of former leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) on Wednesday.
Cambodian and foreign judges of the ECCC finally adopted the internal rules after a week-long meeting, Kong Srim, the president of the Supreme Court Chamber of ECCC, said at a press conference.
"We unanimously adopted the internal rules of ECCC yesterday after concluding a week-long plenary session between national and international judicial officers," he said.
"The internal rules enable us to hold fair, transparent trial before an independent and impartial court and the process of drafting the internal rules has been a complex one," he said.
When we have these rules, we can move forward and the court proceedings of the trials are ready to start soon, he added.
ECCC will also hold its first session on Wednesday to swear in its investigators.
Meanwhile, said a joint statement issued by the judicial officers on Wednesday, "We have resolved all of the matters that we indicated needed further discussion last November. One such complex issue has been how to ensure the rights and involvement of victims. While a familiar element of Cambodian law, this was not spelled out in detail in the ECCC Law and Agreement."
"We interpreted this to mean that victims have the right to join as civil parties. However, due to the specific character of the ECCC, we have decided that only collective, non-financial reparation is possible," it added.
The process of drafting the Internal Rules has been a complex one. The ECCC is a unique exercise in international justice. For the first time a hybrid court, taking as its foundation the national law of the country in which it is operating, has incorporated the work of Co-Investigating Judges into its process, it said.
"We have had no precedents as we worked to integrate Cambodian law and procedure and the particular characteristics and structure of this court, while ensuring that international standards are upheld," it added.
Over the past eleven months of discussions, judges from different countries with differing legal systems, including from common law systems, have found mutually acceptable solutions whilst ensuring fair trial, it said.
"The ECCC judges are acutely aware that the Cambodian people have waited a long time for this process to get under way. We are all committed to completing these trials in a timely manner while ensuring the highest standards of justice are upheld," it added.
The second plenary session of the ECCC was held in Phnom Penh on June 4-13, which aimed to adopt the internal rules for the ECCC.
Several months of disagreement among judges ended on April 28 when the Cambodian Bar Association offered to reduce registration fees to 500 U.S. dollars per year from 4,900 U.S. dollars for foreign lawyers wishing to practice at ECCC.
The internal rules are a prerequisite for ECCC, which is designed by the United Nations and the Cambodian government to try former DK leaders on charges of crimes against humanity between 1975 and 1979. The whole process is expected to cost 56.3 million U.S. dollars.