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Khmer Rouge Victims Want to be Witnesses at Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Khmer Rouge victims wait impatiently for the Khmer Rouge tribunal to resume. The comments are made after they heard that the tribunal procedures will begin in July.

They and their loved ones are the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime ruling Cambodia from 1975-1979 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,700,000 people.

Sixty-five year old Touch Roeun from Kandal province, and fifty-eight year old Lon Sithan from Kampong Thom province join more than 460 people from other provinces and went to see genocidal holocaust museums Tuol Sleng and Cheung Ek, initiated by the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

They say they want to be witnesses at the tribunal and tell of their sufferings if they will be called to testify at the hearings.

Ms. Lon Sithan says that the pictures at the museums are not those of her husband's, but they make her tremble with fear, remembering her late husband being shackled at his feet and having his hands tied, when the Khmer Rouge soldiers said that he will be educated.

This sentence was used by the Khmer Rouge militia when they planned to kill people.

The tribunal of former Khmer Rouge leaders is getting a step closer, to begin procedures after the national and international jurists have been officially chosen and waiting to begin work.

Documentation Center of Cambodia's deputy director Van Peou Dara says that he wants to see the Cambodian people be alert and understand the law and regulations in the participation of the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

He says that among 1,881 people that the center has invited, there will be at least 8-10 people who can testify at the court.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights' (CCHR) director Kem Sokha says that the victims' participation as witnesses and plaintifs is very important, but that one should inform the people about the tribunal system.

He says that almost all the people who are invited have their family members brutally murdered by the Khmer Rouge, and they themselves are already witnesses to the actions by seeing the killings.