When jailed Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea attends a pre-trial hearing next week, he will be confronted not only by judges but also representatives of civil cases against him, in what officials say is new precedent in war crimes tribunals.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal allows for both criminal and civil cases, and several groups have been building civil cases against Nuon Chea, “Brother No. 2.”
“It’s the first time in the history of international tribunals that victims can confront and respond to the accused as civil party complainants,” said Hisham Mousar, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc.
Nuon Chea’s hearing, set for Feb. 4, will determined whether he can be released ahead of his atrocity crimes trial.
Among the victims filing civil suit are Seng Theary, executive director of the Center for Social Development, and Chhum Mey, a survivor of Tuol Sleng prison.
Nuon Chea’s Cambodian attorney, Son Arun, said Wednesday he had not heard the civil parties would be at the hearing.
“It will be difficult if there are many complaining parties during the hearing,” he said.