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Tribunal Welcomes Victims to 'Come Forward'

Victims of the Khmer Rouge should bring their cases to the tribunal now if they feel they directly suffered under Nuon Chea or Duch, a tribunal spokeswoman said Thursday.

They have the right to file complaints to the special courts, whenever they have a case against defendants officially charged by the Khmer Rouge special courts, spokeswoman Helen Jarvis said.

"If they feel they are direct victims, directly affected by crimes testified in the charges against any of the charged persons, please come forward," Jarvis said. "Some people have already come forward."

The tribunal is holding Nuon Chea, the senior-most surviving member of the Khmer Rouge, and Kaing Khek Iev, better known as Duch, the former head of Phnom Penh's Tuol Sleng prison, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tribunal judges are investigating three more unnamed suspects for possible indictment.

Jarvis said the tribunal was working to ensure victims of the regime would have a chance to participate in the trial process, parrying criticism from rights groups it had not done enough to include them.

The tribunal will make a publicity push next month, through radio broadcasts, booklet distribution and other outreach efforts, Jarvis said.

One of the tribunal's main aims is to bring a sense of justice and understanding to the victims of the Khmer Rouge, but so far an under-funded tribunal has been unable to stand up a Victim's Unit, and those who wish to file complaints or cases with the special courts have found the red tape difficult to navigate.

Without a Victim's Unit, ensuring the rights of victims was more difficult, Jarvis said, but the tribunal was ready to receive complaints.