Tuol Sleng prison survivor Chum Mey on Friday called on
living victims of the Khmer Rouge to file further complaints against five former
regime leaders now in the custody of the tribunal.
Chum Mey, who was imprisoned at Tuol Sleng until Vietnamese
forces pushed the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom
Penh in January 1979, said victims must exercise their
right to complain, as no such rights existed under Democratic Kampuchea.
"They closed our mouths and our ears, and they banned
our eyes from seeing," he told seminar on victim compensation in Phnom Penh Friday. "But
now I tell you we have full rights. I need to ask you to file complaints as
much as possible to try those five."
Chum Mey, who is 77 now, spoke during a seminar held by the
rights group Adhoc to discuss possible reparations for victims following
potential trials of the five former leaders: "Brother No. 2" Nuon
Chea, nominal president Khieu Samphan, foreign minister Ieng Sary, social
affairs minister Ieng Thirith and Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, better
known by his revolutionary name, Duch.
"Do not let them go free," said Chum Mey, who
himself has filed a complaint to the Khmer Rouge tribunal as a civil party. "If
we file many complaints, the evidence will be more solid to prove there was
The Victims Unit of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, located behind
the Cambodian Red Cross Hospital on Norodom Boulevard, estimates about 1,800 people
have so far filed complaints. Not all of them have been accepted by the courts,
but more than 60 complaints will be used against Duch, whose case is nearing
the trial stage.
Victims still lack access to information on filing
complaints, said Hisham Mousar, who monitors the courts for the rights group
The tribunal should have a budget to support victims in the
complaint process, he added.
Some people know they can complain, but they don't know
where to go, Chum Mey said. Many of them are poor and are more concerned about
making a living than making a trip to Phnom
Penh to file a complaint.
Chea Sorn, 71, who attended Friday's seminar, said she was
among those who want to file but do not know how.
"I alone am still alive; 10 others died," she said,
weeping. "I don't know how to file a complaint. I earn money by keeping a
parcel of land for one owner. I would rather die and forget all these