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Judges Seek To Include Civil Parties: Tribunal

Khmer Rouge tribunal judges say they are working to admit as many civil parties into the trial process as possible, following complaints by victims of the regime in a provincial forum on Saturday.

Victims had voiced disappointment in the process of civil party selection for an upcoming trial of five jailed Khmer Rouge leaders, which they said was admitting too few people, in a process that was dragging on.

A tribunal spokesman said Wednesday the judges were reviewing applications “every day,” and that speculation on the number of applicants to be admitted to the trial process was premature.

“As you are aware, [there are] 4,004 applications,” the spokesman, Lars Olsen, said. “So it might take until the closing order in September to review all of them. Everyone has to wait until September before they know the outcome of the application procedure.”

Three hundred applicants had already been accepted by investigating judges, he said. “So it’s clear that the final number of civil party applicants will be significant.”

Less than 50 applications have been rejected so far, he added.

However, Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, said the court had more work to do in informing the public about the complaint process. People are filing complaints that are outside the purview of the court, he said.

Adhoc sponsored a forum in Kampot province on Saturday, in which victims complained about the civil party application process.

The court could admit all applicants, he said. “What’s the difference between 2,000, or 3,000, or 4,000 admitted applicants?”

Olsen said Wednesday applicants can only be admitted if their claims fall inside the investigation of the court, but the court cannot inform the public of this jurisdiction because that information is confidential.