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Impact of More Tribunal Indictments Surveyed

While national and international prosecutors remain at odds over further indictments of Khmer Rouge leaders, the Documentation Center of Cambodia last week began a survey among Cambodians to find out what they think.

The survey, which will last one month, asks seven questions of ordinary citizens related to their general knowledge of the ongoing Khmer Rouge tribunal and whether they feel it should indict more cadre of the regime.

“The stance of DC-CAM is to allow victims to play a role and show their decision on whether the tribunal should try five persons or more than five persons, and then we allow them an expression of their views,” said Chy Terith, team leader of the center’s Victims Participation Project. “The outcome of the survey will be published publicly and submitted to the [tribunal] also. It is a voice from victims for the tribunal.”

The tribunal is holding five aging former leaders of the regime: chief ideologue Nuon Chea, 84; nominal head Khieu Samphan, 76; foreign minister Ieng Sary, 84; social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, 67; and prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, 66.

The survey seeks to learn what the potential repercussions of further indictments—of up to 10 subordinates of the currently jailed leaders—would be.

“We will ask them also if the tribunal tries only five persons, will they have justice or not,” Chy Terith said.

The survey will be distributed by 15 survey team members in several provinces, as well as by e-mail. The survey will not be conducted in the former Khmer Rouge redoubts of Pailin and Anlong Veng.

International prosecutors at the tribunal have argued for more indictments, but national prosecutors disagree.

The decision on whether more will be arraigned must now be decided by Pre-Trial Chamber judges, who have not set a hearing, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

It was “too early” to comment on the Documentation Center survey, he said, but “all kinds of evaluations will be taken under consideration by the courts.”