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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Case 001: Closing Statements – Civil Party Groups: Civil Party Group 3

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’) 3 (Lawyers: Philippe CANONNE, Martine JACQUIN, MOCH Sovannary):

General Matters:

(1) CPG 3 opened with a discussion of the separation of powers and the existence of the ECCC as part of the Cambodian system of the rule of law. They proceeded by laying down the legal basis of civil party participation in these proceedings (The division of the time allotted by the Chamber is fully within the discretion of the counsel, however, in this case time could have been much more profitably spent. It is not clear who CPG 3’s target audience was for this lengthy opening but it is definitely not the legal professionals who are – or supposed to be – aware of such basic tenets of democratic governance as ‘separation of powers’; the audience composed of ordinary citizens would not have been to benefit as the concepts it discussed are impenetrable to an ordinary Cambodian).

(2) CPG 3 rejected the accused’s argument that his lack of knowledge of the criminal law at the time of alleged commission of the crimes charged in the indictment is not a defense to the charges. CPG 3 contended that no knowledge of the law is necessary for one to understand that the acts committed at S-21 are wrong.

(3) CPG 3 argued fundamental unfairness in the structure of the Court which allows the accused to come to the proceedings with no significant difficulties while the civil parties have to take “the long road” of recognition (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).

(4) CPG participation was “imperfect” and “sometimes clumsy” but this is because CPGs were “inaugurating a new system” of participation in international criminal trials.

Remorse of the Accused:

(1) The accused confession was “unable to touch the hearts” of the civil parties.

(2) CPG 3 expressed regret about the accused challenging the details of testimonies.

(3) CPG 3 objected to the accused’s quoting of romantic poets as they felt this was highly impropriate and showed that the accused tried to hide his culpability behind the veneer of poetic sophistication.

(4) CPG 3 felt that the accused showed no contrition.


(1) CPG 3 noted that there is a joint reparations proposal submitted to the CPGs to the Chamber.

(2) CPG 3 proposed a memorial with a tombstone with the names of all victims of S-21 carved in it.

(3) CPG 3 proposed that the entrance fees to the Chhung Ek Memorial and the Toul Sleng Museum be used to fund the reparations.

(4) (1) CPG 3 noted that the civil parties would not receive any direct reparations because the Court recognized the accused as an indigent person.

(5) The most valuable reparation is the civil parties’ present in court. CPG 3 asserted that the civil parties are not seeking vengeance but seek to create an environment where “people who could not speak can now speak”.

(6) Civil parties require medical care which can be yet another form of reparations.

(7) Reparations do not come in the form of sympathy or empathy but must be concrete acts which benefit the victims.

(8) Preservation of DK-related documents can be yet another form of reparations.

(9) A plaque must be mount to recognize forced labor during DK.

(10) A voluntary fund must be established (It is not clear how this fund will be used if no individual reparations have been proposed).

(11) The Chamber is responsible for awarding reparations. Reparations must be ordered to come into force 30 days after the final judgment is pronounced (It must be noted that since appeal exists within the ECCC, this time might be moved significantly past the time of the TC hands down its judgment).


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