PHNOM PENH —
Flooding at the Khmer Rouge tribunal has led to a delay in Case 002/02 against senior regime officials.
Court observers and victims have expressed their concern over the delay, however, a court spokesman said that the proceedings would resume this week.
Neth Pheaktra, a spokesman for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the official name of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, said that a temporary bridge was being constructed so that access to the court could be resumed.
The work of the court has been delayed since October 4, when proceedings were due to resume following the annual Pchum Ben holiday, he added.
Only two former senior regime defendants remain alive in the case: Nuon chea, 89, the former deputy secretary of the communist party, and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, 85.
Latt Ky, a tribunal monitor with rights group Adhoc, said while the flooding did pose a safety risk, he urged the court to expedite a return to business.
“The tribunal was set to be completed in three years, yet so far it has taken over 10 years. This makes the victims and the plaintiffs wait for so long.
Bou Meng, a plaintiff in Case 002/02, expressed his concerns that the “bumpy process” would not see justice for those who had suffered under the regime. “I am getting old and the defendants are also aging,” he said.
However, Pheaktra, the court spokesman, assured interested parties that all was being done to ensure a swift return to normal business. “We totally understand the wait for justice [is frustrating]… We are working as fast as we can, but we need to follow the rules,” he said.
The Khmer Rouge regime led to an estimated 1.7 million deaths between 1975 and 1979.