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‘Quality’ of Justice Needed at Tribunal: Victims

Seng Theary,head of Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia.
Seng Theary,head of Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia.

With pressure mounting on the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, two civil party representatives said Thursday the court will be judged on the quality of justice it provides to victims of the regime.

“When we speak about justice, we want to focus on quality,” Seng Theary, a Cambodian-American lawyer who has pushed for more access of victims to court procedures, told “Hello VOA” Thursday.

Ly Monysak, who lost 21 family members to the Khmer Rouge, said he was now concerned a trial of four jailed leaders will not be completed in their lifetimes. The first hearing in that trial is scheduled for June 27.

But the fate of two more cases remains unknown. Critics have said they worry about political obstruction in those cases, 003 and 004, which together would call for five more indictments at the court.

Investigating judges have been criticized for hastily concluded Case 003, without field investigations into some sites and without interviewing the two suspects. The international prosecutor is appealing to have more investigation.

Tribunal spokesman Huy Vannak said the case is not fully closed, but a decision will be up to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the court.

Seng Theary said the number of indictments in those cases was less important than the information their pursuit might provide.

“When there are no investigations into 003 and 004, we don’t have additional information about the darkness of the regime,” she said.

“When we don’t receive information, we don’t have the truth. When we don’t have truth, we don’t have justice. And when we don’t have justice, we don’t have obvious peace in our hearts.”