WASHINGTON DC —
The Khmer Rouge tribunal plans to spend millions of dollars in reparations to the victims of the regime who were included in Case 002/02 if the former regime officials are found guilty later this year, the court has said.
In a statement, the court said that victims and civil parties in the case would receive reparations in the form of project funding at the request of the Cambodian government.
The proposed projects include health care, including mental health care, reconciliation work, education, the preservation of memorials and naming of existing infrastructure, and public remembrance ceremonies.
Neth Pheaktra, court spokesman, said more funding was required for the projects.
“These projects will cost more than $6 million and from what I understand ... other relevant stakeholders have only half,” he said.
Sum Rithy, a civil party to the case, said he disagreed with the plans, saying many felt personal reparations to individuals would be a better use of the money,
“It’s hard to accept because it’s of no use to the victims, more than 3,800 people, as they struggle and spend their own money during the trials,” he said.
A torture survivor, Rithy, said despite life sentences for a few senior members of the regime, he was not satisfied because many of the regime’s killers had walked free.
Nushin Sarkarati of the Center for Justice and Accountability, which assists victims of the Khmer Rouge, however, said the reparations process would ensure a lasting legacy.
“Given that the crimes heard before the ECCC are serious crimes affecting a large population, collective (rather than individual reparations) are better suited to address the needs of the survivor community,” he said in an email. “There are nearly 4,000 civil parties participating in this trial and more victims continue to be impacted to this day.”
Peter Maguire, a law professor and author of “Facing Death in Cambodia”, said that the scale of reparations was too small, suggesting that money would be better spent on dedicated non-governmental projects, such as the Documentation Center of Cambodia.
The U.N.-backed court has spent some $270 million so far to try just three Khmer Rouge leaders since 2006.