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Civil Party Lawyer Says Tribunal Is Failing Victims

The officers of U.N.-backed genocide tribunal meet high school students at Ek Phnom district in Battambang province, as they distribute recent verdict books of Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 5, 2011.

The UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has failed to satisfy the needs of the regime’s victims, a civil party lawyer at the court said Tuesday.

Speaking on a special edition of “Hello VOA,” Som Sokong, who is representing complainants in cases 002 and 003, said victims have not had enough time or information to properly file applications and complaints.

The court has so far failed to adequately provide the names of crime sites that would allow victims to detail their complaints the tribunal victims unit, a major requirement for the inclusion at the court, he said.

Meanwhile, in the one case the court has prosecuted, that of prison chief Duch, the reparations it offered were inadequate, he said.

The tribunal is moving toward trial for Case 002, for four leaders already in custody, but it has come under increased criticism for its handling of cases 003 and 004, which would require further indictments, something Prime Minister Hun Sen opposes.

Som Sokong said the court had not been transparent in the handling of Case 003, for which investigating judges issued a conclusion in April. That meant victims only had 15 days to request further investigation, without knowing the names of the two suspects.

Tribunal spokesman Dim Sovannarom defended the court’s work, saying it has done its best to reach out to the public and educate people about court proceedings.

However, unlike Case 002, which saw more than 6,000 victim complainants, cases 003 and 004 so far only have 318.