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.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Case 001: Closing Statements – Civil Party Groups: Civil Party Group 4

Synopsis (note: the synopses under this and other rubrics are mine and not those of the ECCC; so are the comments in italics in parentheses; these are, however, based on my understanding of the statements which appear in the official ECCC transcript as “Case 001: Closing Statements”).

Civil Party Group (‘CPG’) 4 (Lawyers: HONG Kim Suon, Pierre-Olivier SUR)

General Matters:

(1) CPG 4 asserted that the level of participation of civil parties in these proceedings is this low due to very few of them appreciating “the effectiveness of an international” (It must be noted that this is a different explanation from that given by CPG 3 which on the face of it sounds more plausible in the void of research on the matter; it is also helpful that it was given by a Cambodian lawyer who is likely more in touch with the general population than his international colleagues).

(2) CPG 4 lamented the fact that the accused had no trouble getting to the court while the civil parties had had difficulties securing recognition of the court (A similar statement was made by CPG 3. It is perhaps noteworthy that the accused was brought to these proceedings through the coercive force the state exercises through its criminal law. The accused has been put in jeopardy of life imprisonment by these proceedings which is the highest right in the hierarchy; civil parties haven’t).

Remorse of the Accused:

(1) CPG 4 expressed their views on Buddhism which they believe to be about forgiveness in this life and karma (punishment) in the next lives (It is unfortunate that the counsel did not fully develop this line of thinking which precludes us from knowing what the intended effect of this statement was. However, if the civil parties believe that the accused will be punished through the karmic circle of rebirths, it is not clear why they have withheld their forgiveness of the accused).

(2) Expression of emotion by the accused in court is contrary to the Buddhist culture (How can there be such polarized views about what the civil parties consider appropriate for the accused to do to express remorse? If it is generally understood that the Buddhist culture encourages/requires the suppression of emotions then why the statements of the remainders of the CPGs? It might, however, be the difference between what the Cambodian counsel expect from that which is expected by the international counsel; this discrepancy should not exist as the international counsel should have learned enough about their clients’ culture to be able to represent THEIR (as opposed to the counsel’s own) views on retribution and forgiveness).

(3) The accused’s confession was insincere and incomplete (It is not difficult to understand ‘incomplete’ but how does ‘insincere’ work with the above?). The accused’s argument that he was “only a cog in the Khmer Rouge machinery” is admissible (It is not clear whether it is the inadequacy of translation or the counsel’s own confusion of the terms. While there is no reason to believe that any statement of the accused is inadmissible in these proceedings, some might have felt that this particular argument was ‘inappropriate’ rather than ‘inadmissible). It was further contended that this argument was ‘inadmissible’ because the accused “could spare prisoners of S-21 and event prevent arrests” (The prosecution looked high and low for any evidence of the former; the fact that none was presented in court shows that they did not find any. The latter, however, was argued extensively throughout the proceedings to which the consensus seems to be that the accused could have avoided initiating arrests and could do nothing about the arrests which were ordered by others). The accused “terrorized” his superiors (This is a highly argumentative statement which is based on the prosecution’s contention that the accused contributed to the paranoia which had already existed in the top echelons. It is not clear to what extent this is true, even if he did contribute to the fears harbored by those with the authority to arrest, interrogate and execute).


(1) CPG 4 reiterated that there is a joint submission on reparations to the Chamber.

(2) Civil parties do not think they will get direct reparations as the Court has found the accused to be indigent.

(3) A plaque displaying the names of S-21 and S-24 victims must be commissioned and mounted.

(4) Entrance fees collected from the Toul Sleng Museum and the Choeung Ek Memorial must be contributed to a fund to “reveal any reparations courses” (The text in the quotation marks is likely attributable to the inadequacy of translation and is likely to mean “to fund any reparatory initiatives”).


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