Not only survivors, but Cambodia’s younger generation too is seeking reparations for the nearly 2 million victims of the Khmer Rouge. Nobody yet knows what exactly that will mean.
“We need hospitals for victims,” Chhou Ny Sinan, project officer for justice and reconciliation of Youth for Peace, said Thursday, during a two-day seminar on reparations for victims. “We need support to build centers for the old, widows and children.”
Victims of the regime, non-governmental agencies and other participants discussed Wednesday and Thursday the needs of victims, as a Khmer Rouge tribunal moves forward.
Some victims said they needed common reparation, such as monuments, schools and hospitals. And they need real justice.
“We need a place that we can pray for the souls of the victims,” said Seng Theary, executive director of the Center for Social Development, whose parents were killed by the regime. Crying, she added: “1.7 million lives, who died, this is costly and we must have respect for them, and give them honors.”
Other survivors of the regime, such Chum Mei, a former prisoner of Tuol Sleng, whose director, Duch, is to go on trial next year, and Sum Rithy, who lived through a Khmer Rouge prison in Siem Reap, said individual reparation should be available.
The internal rules of the Khmer Rouge tribunal do not allow for individual reparation, such as awarding cash to victims, but for “psychological” or common reparation.
“Compensation cannot be done for individuals,” Kong Srim, president of the tribunal’s Supreme Court, said Thursday.
However, lawyers for the tribunal said the internal rules are not clear enough in their definition of “psychological.”
They asked for recommendations for an amendment to the rules.