The Khmer Rouge tribunal has excluded 33 Khmer Krom and ethnic Vietnamese applicants from seeking reparations in its recently concluded investigation of the Democratic Kampuchea government.
In a March 4 letter posted on the tribunal’s website yesterday, Co-Investigating Judges Marcel Lemonde and You Bunleng told the applicants they could not be parties to the court’s second case as their injuries are not directly connected to the scope of the investigation.
The 33 alleged victims all had their applications provisionally placed on the case file but were officially declared inadmissible in January, at the same time judges denied a request to investigate crimes committed against Khmer Krom and ethnic Vietnamese during the Khmer Rouge regime.
The denial means these crimes do not currently fall under the scope of the second investigation.
Mahdev Mohan, who represents some of the rejected applicants, wrote in an e-mail yesterday that he and co-lawyers Lyma Nguyen and Ny Chandy would appeal the inadmissibility order.
In the same order, 10 other Vietnamese and Khmer Krom civil party applications were admitted because their injuries coincided with other crimes being investigated, such as the evacuation of Phnom Penh and the persecution of Buddhist monks.
In a letter of protest last week, civil party lawyers complained that victims had been misled into thinking they would be accepted as civil parties.
Their clients “do not accept that their previously recognized civil party status or civil party applications should be unexpectedly rejected for being outside the scope of investigation when they have provided credible and cogent evidence of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ECCC,” the lawyers wrote.
In their March 4 letter, co-investigating judges assured the applicants the decision “does not in any way mean that you are not recognized as a victim of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the ECCC.
Over 4,000 claimants have applied to be civil parties in the court’s second case. Legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen said he could not speculate on how many more rejections might be issued in coming months.