KR Tribunal Begins Sorting Victim Complaints

Victim complaints have begun pouring in to the Khmer Rouge tribunal—more than 1,100 so far—and the court has begun the delicate process of figuring out how to group them, said Helen Jarvis, the tribunal’s Public Affairs Chief. 

“It’s still early days for going through the applications,” she said. “We’ll see what logical groups emerge.”

The court’s rules allow victims, as civil parties or members of a recognized victim association, to seek common legal representation; judges can also ask groups of victims to join together with a common lawyer. The rules, however, don’t specify how victim categories should be defined.

Jarvis said the Victims Unit is developing a database to analyze applications and would make groupings in consultation with civil parties. The court has also hired a short-term consultant to help build a system to analyze large numbers of applications, she said.

Jarvis added that possible categories included the nature of injury, and demographic classes, such as age, gender, occupation.

“We’ll see patterns emerging when the data is analyzed,” she said.

So far, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has yet to recognize any classes of victims, Jarvis said.

Last week, the Center for Social Development announced that its director, Theary Seng, who is already a civil party to the court, would seek to helm a class of orphan victims.

Cambodians who lost both parents to death or disappearance would be eligible, according to a CSD statement. Anyone, whether they live in Cambodia or overseas, would be welcome to sign on to the application against tribunal defendants Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, CSD said. The rights group will hold an informational seminar Friday at its Phnom Penh headquarters.

Theary Seng was overseas Monday and could not be reached for comment.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague also groups victims, according to Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

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