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Tribunal Narrows Victim Participation

Khmer Rouge tribunal judges on Wednesday issued a broad decision on the role victim parties will play in upcoming trials for aging senior leaders of the regime, while at the same time making genocide charges unlikely for crimes against a group of Khmer Kampuchea Krom.

The tribunal allows “civil parties,” or victims of the regime, a measure of participation in trials.

But the Pre-Trial Chamber judges said Tuesday only civil parties who can demonstrate they were affected by crimes being reviewed in the scope of an upcoming case—and not under the Khmer Rouge in general—will be able to participate.

The tribunal is currently preparing an atrocity crimes trial for at least four jailed leaders: Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith.

Known as Case No. 002, the trial will be the most complicated for the court yet, following the trial of Kaing Kek Iev, the torture chief better known as Duch, last year.

Tuesday’s decision was the result of a review by the Pre-Trial Chamber of appeals filed by 33 civil party applicants of the Vietnamese and Kampuchea Krom ethnic groups.

The judges upheld a previous court decision not to pursue genocide charges for crimes committed against the group, claiming the crimes alleged against them were not within the scope of Case No. 002.

The groups had alleged mass killings of Khmer Krom in the provinces of Pursat and Takeo and genocide against Vietnamese in Kampong Chhnang province.

“These applicants claimed to be victims belonging to Khmer Krom or Vietnamese and claim to be victims of crimes committed in other sites than those currently being investigated by the judges,” tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said. “And they are not admissible in that respect.”