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Civil Party Number Spike at Tribunal

The number of civil party applicants at the Khmer Rouge tribunal has seen a significant spike as the UN-backed court heads toward the trial of the regime’s senior-most leaders, officials said Wednesday.

The number of civil party applications exceeded 3,500 for Case No. 002, while the total number of victim complaints reached 7,200, officials said.

Judges are expected to announce a close to investigations in the second case, which seeks to try Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Kaing Kek Iev for atrocity crimes.

Victims have two weeks following the close to file complaints.

“It seems that people are away that they need to file now if they want to be a civil party,” tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said, adding that one third of applicants had applied in the last three months alone.

Latt Ky, a tribunal observer for the rights group Adhoc, said the number wasn’t especially large, but the increase could signal a rise in awareness about the trial among the public.

It is unclear when the next trial will be held. Olsen said it may not be until the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011, depending on the number of requests and appeals filed by prosecutors, defense and civil parties.