As we begin the last public hearings by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, it is important to consider not only the important work of the ECCC but also the great tasks that lie before us.
The ECCC depends on the survivors of the Khmer Rouge for its existence. The survivors’ demands for a court were important to the ECCC’s establishment, and even though it has taken far too long to establish the court, and far too long for the court to complete its work, the survivors exercise patience, because they truly want to give the court legitimacy even up to its last hearing.
The ECCC secured the conviction of the former commandant of the S-21 extermination center, and two of the most senior leaders of the regime, the former “brother number two,” Nuon Chea, and the former head of state, Khieu Samphan. Of course, whereas the court will be remembered by the convictions it achieved, it will also be remembered by the judgments that it never rendered.