Sos Rumly, 55, lost his brother to the Khmer Rouge. Now, he wants to build a fence around the graves of 20 Khmer Rouge victims near his home in Kompong Cham’s Kroch Chhmar district, and he wants the Khmer Rouge tribunal to help pay for it.
Last October, Sos Rumly, a local Cham leader, filed a complaint to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. He has heard nothing back, he said Tuesday, and already his interest in the tribunal is waning.
“In the beginning, I was interested. Now, since I have not heard any information, I don’t care much,” he said, adding that poverty is a more pressing concern.
Sos Rumly is one of 517 victims who have submitted complaint forms to the ECCC’s co-prosecutors through the Documentation Center of Cambodia.
Farina So, who coordinates DC-Cam’s outreach activities with the Cham Muslim community, said that last week she contacted 7 religious leaders who represent about 200 of those complainants. Neither they nor their constituents had heard back from the court, she said.
“They just want to know what happened to their complaints.”
ECCC Co-Prosecutor Robert Petit said Monday that his office had entered all received complaints into a database. But over half were incomplete, he said.
“We’re working to deal with this as soon as we can. Expectations have to be reasonable,” he said.
The new, Cambodian head of the Victims Unit is scheduled to take office later this month, said tribunal public affairs chief Helen Jarvis. She declined to reveal the name of the new unit head.
Hisham Mousar, who monitors the tribunal for rights group Adhoc, said Adhoc has collected more than 200 civil party complaints, which it plans to deliver to the court as soon as the head of the Victims Unit arrives. The Khmer Institute of Democracy, another NGO, has collected 55 civil party complaints, he said.
Four of the seven civil party complaints Adhoc helped lodge in November have been accepted, he added. And victims had their first say in open court Monday, when lawyers for three civil parties spoke at a pretrial hearing for Brother Number 2 Nuon Chea.
“We’re satisfied,” Mousar said.
DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang is not. He says victims are looking to the court for more than just a legal resolution. “For them, the Khmer Rouge is about the killing fields. Can the killing fields be reconciled by the ECCC?” he wrote by e-mail.
He added, by phone: “It’s been on and on and on.” The court, he said, doesn’t “even have the time to write a two-paragraph letter? ‘Your complaint is important for history. Thank you.’ It would take one minute to do that.”