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News Victim Participation in Tribunal a Precedent: Official

The UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has seen more victim participation than any other genocide court in the world, with more than 20,000 victims taking part in one way or another, a tribunal official told “Hello VOA” Monday.

“There are 500 to 600 per day participating in hearings, which is different from courts in the Hague, which tried cases that happened in the former Yugoslavia with a few participants,” tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

The trial for prison chief Duch, dubbed Case No. 001, began in March and is still continuing, with the court room divided from an audience in an auditorium by plates of glass, testimony heard through headphones with real-time translation.

Case No. 002, which involves four senior leaders of the regime, may see even more.

Reach Sambath said the tribunal was resolving other issues as well, with Duch’s trial coming to an end, the establishment of an independent council to investigate allegations of corruption, and the replacement of a recently retired international prosecutor.

There are outstanding issues as well.

The tribunal is approaching the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber on whether more suspects will be indicted, an act Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned would lead to instability within the country.

And 28 civil parties have begun boycotting proceedings, saying they have not been granted enough participation in the Duch trial.