Punish Khmer Rouge Sex Crimes, UN Representative Says

The government has failed in recent years to take steps to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence committed during the Khmer Rouge, according to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

In a report released Wednesday, Zainab Hawa Bangura listed Cambodia among several other post-conflict countries that should do more to address the needs of victims of sexual violence, saying that calls for an end to such impunity in the country had not been addressed since she took up her position in September 2012.

“Since my previous report on sexual violence in conflict, no governmental system has been put in place to respond to my recommendation that the effective prosecution of perpetrators be pursued,” Ms. Hawa Bangura said of the situation in Cambodia.

“I reiterate my call to the government to respond to the needs of survivors of sexual violence and to address impunity for such crimes, and assure national authorities of the support of the United Nations in that regard.”

At the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the second phase of Case 002 against two of the regime’s highest-ranking members, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, will include charges of rape and forced marriage.

However, Theresa de Langis, lead researcher of the Cambodian Women’s Oral History Project, said the case will not target low-ranking, direct perpetrators of such crimes.

“Mostly, what women are asking for is for some kind of recognition or reparations, especially with regard to mental health and physical health issues,” she said. “Almost all the women I’ve talked to still have health problems related to their sexual abuse, torture or rape.”

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