With the coordination and assistance of the Victims Support Section (VSS) at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), 150 civil parties attended the pronouncement of the ECCC’s final verdict for former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan on September 22.
According to a September 28 press release by the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber, the attendees represented a large portion of the parties who had been called on during the trial. They were selected based on criteria which included gender, ethnicity, geographical location, and the charges raised during the trial of Case 002/02.
It added that following the reading of the judgment, the civil parties were taken to DK Meeting Centre in Phnom Penh to meet with their legal representatives and discuss the judgment. They voiced their satisfaction with the ruling, while raising many issues that remain significant to them as well as their communities.
Covid-19 safety measures meant that large gatherings could not be held at the September 22 trial. Therefore, the VSS coordinated several small community meetings to allow the civil parties to the case to meet with their legal representatives, so that recent developments could be communicated.
Hang Vannak, chief of the VSS, said that since the beginning of the year, they had organised three forums. They will continue to provide more, to ensure that the civil parties to the case are aware of the latest news.
The VSS also facilitated the involvement of the parties in a May victims’ workshop run by the ECCC. It also coordinated a meeting with the principal donors group of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, so the civil parties could discuss their ongoing concerns and requests.
“Ensuring that civil parties can join forums, hearing and discussions with lawyers is the mandate of the VSS. The recent coordination has been made possible through the funding from the Civil Peace Service of GIZ,” he said, referring to the German agency for international development.