ECCC Seeks Remaining Civil Parties ‘as Soon as Possible’

Under an expedited schedule, the Khmer Rouge tribunal announced Monday it is encouraging litigants seeking reparations from senior Khmer Rouge leaders to come forward “as soon as possible” and preferably by mid-November.

Fearing that civil parties could overload the tribunal, the court’s judges this month streamlined the process for civil party participation and shortened the period during which they can apply for inclusion in the trials.

Though victims were previously allowed to apply until two weeks before the start of trial, they will now be barred two weeks after the close of the investigation. The current investigation of five suspects—Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, former head of state Khieu Samphan; Foreign Minister Ieng Sary; Social Action Minister Ieng Thirith; and secret police Chairman Kaing Guek Eav, who remains under investigation despite the conclusion of his trial on Sept 17—is expected to end this year.

Some judges said prior to this month’s changes that superficial vetting of civil party applications had exposed claims made by some civil parties to time-consuming examination and painful attacks in open court.

The new deadline “maximizes the attention that can be provided to, the use that can be made of, the submissions by the victims unit and the office of the co-investigating judges,” the tribunal’s victims unit said in Monday’s statement.

“It also provides more time for additional detail to be sought from and provided by the applicant should that be necessary.”

Victims unit chief Helen Jarvis said yesterday that the court had as of August received 4,448 victim information forms, including 2,284 civil party applications, and that 171 people have successfully been added as civil parties to the current investigation.

Lawyer Kong Pisey, who represents three civil parties in the investigation, said that many potential applicants live in remote areas and have had trouble correctly completing the forms, meaning that more time may be necessary.

“The difficulty is that there is not enough time to deliver it to the tribunal,” he said.

   (Additional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)


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