FIDH International Federation for Human Rights
On the 17 September 2010, at the 8th Plenary Session of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Judges adopted a revised version of their Internal Rules. While welcoming improvements made with regard to the realization of the ECCC’s reparation mandate and consultation processes with NGOs, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) have concerns that the ECCC Judges did not adopt essential safeguards to ensure an effective implementation of victims’ right to reparation ahead of the second trial.
CHRAC and FIDH welcome the critical introduction into the Internal Rules of an additional avenue for awarding moral and collective reparation to Civil Parties. In addition to awards of reparations directly paid by the accused persons, this new mechanism will allow the possibility of collective reparations in the form of projects recognised by the Chambers. Such projects are to be designed and implemented through coordination of the ECCC Victims’ Support Section and in partnership with Lead Co-Lawyers and external actors. Regrettably, the ECCC did not provide any amendments clarifying the funding of these awards, such as establishing a specific Fund or other funding mechanisms to finance such projects. As a consequence, sources of funding remain vague and will need to be identified at a later stage.
Our organisations welcome the fact that proposed amendments on reinforcing collaboration between the Victims Support Section, Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers and non-governmental organisations with regard to the implementation of collective reparations and non-judicial programmes were generally accepted by the Plenary Session. CHRAC and FIDH call for the effective implementation of these provisions as the preparation of the second trial is on-going.
However, CHRAC and FIDH regret that the Plenary Session did not follow their recommendations in relation to ensuring that collective reparations to Civil Parties are fair and adequate and preparing the Internal Rules sufficiently for challenges that will arise in the process of implementation. In this regard, our organisations regret that our proposals allowing for more flexibility in designing the single claim and guaranteeing that voices of marginal groups are included were not considered by the Judges. Moreover, and considering the age of the accused persons, it is vital that more efforts are made to elaborate on how non convicted-borne forms of collective reparations could be pursued after the death of the accused.
Overall, we commend the Plenary’s amendments to the Internal Rules which, for the first time, provide a feasible option for the realisation of the ECCC’s reparations mandate. However, we hope that the Judges will use their next Plenary Session at the beginning of next year to include additional measures into the Rules to ensure an effective and adequate implementation of those provisions.