'Historic day' for international criminal law 05 Feb 2008
For the first time at an international or hybrid criminal tribunal, victims of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia have participated in proceedings as civil parties.

Photographs of victims at Tuol Sleng genocide museum. Photograph: Francoise de Mulder/Corbis
On Wednesday, 4 February, in a public hearing on the pre-trial detention of Nuon Chea at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), victims of the Khmer Rouge regime participated for the first time as civil parties, legally represented by their lawyers. Participation of this nature by the victims is unprecedented in international criminal law.

Previously, no international or hybrid tribunal mandated to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide have ever involved victims as civil parties with full procedural rights.

The Internal Rules of the ECCC provide for the participation of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime in the proceedings as civil parties. They allow victims to play an active role in the trials, including all procedural rights. The rights of Civil Parties are comparable to those of the accused, and include the rights to participate in the investigation, to be represented by a lawyer, to call witnesses, question the accused at trial, and to claim reparations for the harm they have suffered.

The hearing on the appeal by Nuon Chea (“Brother Number Two”) against his provisional detention was adjourned in response to a request by a defence lawyer. A decision on the date of its resumption will be announced on 6 February.

Nuon Chea was arrested in September 2007. He was the former Khmer Rouge second-in-command and is accused of playing a key role in the deaths of some 1.7 million people during the regime’s rule from 1975-79.

On 3 December 2007, the Pre-Trial Chamber at the ECCC dismissed an appeal by Kaing Guek Eav (“Duch”) against the length of his provisional detention.

Press release
Internal Rules of the ECCC
Law on the Establishment of the ECCC

Page Tools
Share |