The defendants in that case are: Nuon Chea, former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea; Ieng Sary, former Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs; Khieu Samphan, former Head of State; and Ineg Thirith, former Minister of Social Affairs. Each has been indicted on charges of crimes against humanity; grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949; genocide; and homicide, torture, and religious persecution withing the meaning of the Cambodian Penal Code of 1956.
Under Rule 23 quinquies of the Chambers' Internal Rules, the Chambers "may award only collective and moral reparations" to victims who participate in the proceedings as civil parties. Unlike Article 75 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Chambers' Rules do not provide for the award of monetary compensation to victims.
Among the reparations sought by the victims in Case 002 are:
- establishment of a day of national remembrance;
- health services for elderly victims;
- vocational training to victims of forced marriage and their children (see previous IntLawGrrls post here); and
- legal services for ethnic Vietnamese who the Khmer Rouge forcibly deported to obtain Cambodian citizenship.
Notwithstanding this precedent, in addressing the scope of the requests of the victims in Case 002, international lead co-lawyer for the victims, Elisabeth Simonneau-Fort (below right), said:
Reparations have to be satisfactory for civil parties. Reparations have to alleviate their pain and grief. It is our duty to be ambitious . . . If we are not ambitious, we cannot represent our civil parties.(photo credit)
Simonneau-Fort's comments call to mind the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2005. In its resolution adopting the Basic Principles and Guidelines, the General Assembly stated that victims of gross violations of human rights law shall be entitled not only to restitution and compensation, but to rehabilitation and satisfaction as well.
According to news reports, the victims' request in Case 002 has the support of the prosecution while the defense maintains such requests are beyond the competency of the Chambers. There has been much criticism leveled at the Chambers with regard to realizing victims' rights. Hopefully the Trial Chamber will grant this most recent submission the weight it deserves.