A Cambodian transsexual who claims she suffered repeated acts of sexual violence at the hands of the Khmer Rouge is to lodge a complaint at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday in order to become a civil party, her lawyer announced August 29.
In a statement issued through the court, German lawyer Silke Studzinsky, who currently represents 12 alleged Khmer Rouge victims, said her client, a male-to-female transgendered woman identified only as “S,” will be filing the court’s first victim application for gender crimes.
In addition to being repeatedly imprisoned and raped, S “was threatened with death if she refused to marry a woman and the Khmer Rouge ordered the performance of sexual intercourse as part of the marital obligation,” Studzinsky claimed in the statement.
Reached by telephone August 29, the alleged victim said that for her Democratic Kampuchea had been a time of great suffering.
“I suffered a lot due to the human rights violations on me as a third gender during the three years, eight months and 20 days of the regime,” she said, declining to comment further.
Studzinsky said August 29 that the array of alleged abuses took many forms but were characterized as rape, since this was the only gender crime included in the definition of crimes against humanity which is in use at the tribunal.
The 1998 treaty creating the International Criminal Court contained a broad definition of sexual violence, including crimes such as rape, sex slavery, forcible prostitution and sterilization and other sex crimes “of comparable gravity.”
“If we look at the ECCC law, it is really less than the Rome Statute, and it is really regrettable that more crimes were not specified,” Studzinsky said.
Ros Sopheap, executive director of the NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia, said Friday that sexual violence perpetrated during Democratic Kampuchea has never been spoken about.
“Before the Khmer Rouge, this was never discussed and after the Khmer Rouge this was never discussed,” she said.