Nearly 100 civil parties submitted applications to take part in the upcoming trial of former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, tribunal officials announced Wednesday.
The Victims Unit of the tribunal said 94 parties had applied and 28 had been recognized by investigating judges for the trial of Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, who faces a number of atrocity charges for his role as chief of Tuol Sleng prison under the regime.
At least 12,000 Cambodians were allegedly tortured at the prison, called S-21 by the Khmer Rouge, to be later executed at the Choeung Ek “killing fields.”
“The civil party applications are very important for the legal procedures to try Duch and other former Khmer Rouge,” Keat Bophal, director of the Victims Unit said Wednesday. “And civil parties also have the right to demand compensation.”
Chhum Mey, who survived Tuol Sleng as a prisoner and applied to be a civil party to Duch’s trial, said Wednesday he wanted “to find real justice for victims of the Khmer Rouge regime, especially my four children and wife, who the Khmer Rouge killed.”
“I need justice for them, and I need balance (in the courts) for making the decision on the accused,” he said.
Lat Ky, tribunal coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, which helps coordinate civil party applications, said the number of applicants was “proper.”
“I want as many more applications than this as possible,” he said. “Because we have more applications and information, which could ensure that the trial process has full justice.”
Thirty-three of the applications submitted to the Victims Unit came from Adhoc, he said. “This figure shows that people understand participation in the Khmer Rouge tribunal process.”
Although applications were now closed for Duch’s trial, the Victims Unit remains open to applications for cases against four other remaining leaders who are currently in tribunal detention, the unit said in a statement.