A Boat Without Anchors – Khmer Version

Please find the Khmer translation of “A Boat Without Anchors:  A Report on the Legal Status of Ethnic Vietnamese Minority Populations in Cambodia under Domestic and International Laws Governing Nationality and Statelessness” and the corresponding Khmer Annex of Laws referred to in the Legal Report.

The English version of the Report and full Annex of Laws is at http://www.civilparties.org/?p=494 

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See below for the Khmer Annex of laws

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Comment from Former International Civil Party Counsel, Silke Studzinsky:

Having formerly represented a large number of clients from the NGO ADHOC,  I have listened to ADHOC clients (numbering nearly 1800), represented by Civil Party Representatives. A large majority of them opposed having 20 May as a commemoration day [ as it was already a day founded upon and marked by politics].  Accordingly,  I informed the Lead Co-Lawyers about their views but these voices do not appear to have been taken into account by the Lead Co-Lawyers, when they proposed 20 May as a commemoration day in the consolidated group of reparation requests
The other reparation requests, such as including the Khmer Rouge history into the education curricula and the preservation of crime sites, are part and parcel of the duties of the government.  The efforts of DC-Cam have filled this gap in the past, and continues its project, implemented by the ministry for education.

Comment from International Civil Party Counsel, Lyma Nguyen

It is certainly an encouraging sign that the Cambodian government – for the first time – has indicated that it wants to take responsibility for some restorative justice measures to the victims of the Khmer Rouge. The ECCC’s reparations mandate is in many ways unique, and only paralleled by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, in that an international(-ised) criminal court is mandated to afford reparations to victims of mass crimes. By limiting the court’s reparations mandate to only “collective and moral reparations”, the ECCC Judges considered the challenging circumstance in Cambodia, when they drafted the Internal Rules in 2007.
From the beginning it was clear, that the Cambodian government would need to play an active role in anyreparations program – given that most of the accused persons were considered indigent, and because the ECCC did not conduct a thorough investigation into the state of their assets. Apart from “approving”reparations projects, victims of the Khmer Rouge and civil parties at the ECCC would certainly like to see the government consider victims’ interests more globally. As representative of the Cambodian state, today’s government should feel responsible for delivering reparations for crimes that were committed (at the time) in the name of the state, by other state representatives. Although the measures proposed by the civil parties and now considered by the Cambodian government, are by and large symbolic in nature, they represent an important acknowledgment of the harm suffered by so many victims. In many ways, they can only represent a beginning – a more victim-oriented policy by the Cambodian government in future would be a significant sign to victims of the Khmer Rouge that their suffering is being recognised.”

Reparation Measures for Khmer Rouge Victims Approved

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer, 22 June 2013

WASHINGTON DC – The Cambodian government has approved collective reparations for victims of the Khmer Rouge who have taken part in atrocity crimes trials at UN-backed tribunal.Reparations will include a national commemoration day, the preservation of crime sites, and the construction of a museum, library and monument, according to a letter obtained by VOA Khmer.The request was made to Prime Minister Hun Sen by lawyers for civil party participants at the tribunal, Elisabeth Simonneau Fort and Ang Pich.

In it, they ask that May 20 be set aside as a day of commemoration, and that historical Khmer Rouge documents be incorporated into school curriculum from grades 7 through 12, as well as in higher education.

In response, Hun Sen approved the request, which was then approved by the Council of Ministers. Subdecrees will be issued to relevant ministries and authorities to carry out the request, according to official documents.

Court observers cautiously welcomed the initiative.

Nushin Sarkarati, a legal official at the Center for Justice and Accountability, said the tribunal also must consider the needs of victims as it decides on atrocity crimes cases.

“Therefore, the court must consider, what are the harms that victims of forced evacuation have endured?” she said. “How are these harms continuing today? An adequate reparation would address these questions and provide some measure of redress and reparative justice for the victims.

Many of the victims continue to suffer from physical and psychological pain as a result of Khmer Rouge atrocities, she said. “An adequate reparation would be both medical and mental health services to address these continuing harms.”

Education and memorialization have been requested by victims who “continue to search for answers,” she said. “These reparations will help address that need.”

Ear Sophal, a Cambodian-American scholar and author of “Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy.” He filed his own complaint at the court and said he will wait to see the details of the reparations. For example, it remains to be seen how Khmer Rouge documents will be taught in school, he said.

“If an organization like the Documentation Center of Cambodia were to review this and put its stamp of approval on it, then I would agree that it would be at least independently reviewed,” he said.

The preservation of Khmer Rouge crime sites would be better than selling them off to private companies, he said.

However, the reparations, including the date of a commemoration day, must not be politicized by authorities or the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, he said. “It’s very important that this be a date for the victims, and not for political purposes.”

May 20 is already marked as a “Day of Anger” for the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, celebrated generally by the CPP and its supporters.

Ear Sophal, who lost his father and brother to the regime, also admitted that reparations are a tricky matter. Clear justice from the courts, without politics or corruption, would be a step in the right direction, he said.

Other complainants, like Khmer Rouge survivor Sum Rithy, say these initiatives should also include personal reparations to each victim. That could be something like a certificate clearing them of crimes levied by the Khmer Rouge, he told VOA Khmer.

Meanwhile, the court continues in its atrocity crimes trial of senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who have been charged with war crimes, including genocide.

Any decision on reparations made by the court would come after the conclusion of that trial. A tribunal spokesman said a verdict could be reached in that case in the first quarter of 2014.


Reparations approved for victims of the KR


Phnom Penh Post, 24 June 2013, page 3, by Stuart White

The Cambodian government has responded to a request by civil party lawyers at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, approving the first reparations projects to be offered to victims since the court began trying the regime’s senior leaders.

In a June 11 letter to civil party lead co-lawyers Pich An and Elisabeth Simonneau-Fort, Council of Ministers Secretary of State Hing Thoraxy said that the government would approve two requests – one designating a National Day of Remembrance, and another expanding the teaching of Khmer Rouge history.

“In accordance with the above subject and references, the Office of the Council of Ministers wishes to inform the Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers that the Royal Government agrees to . . . Designate the 20th of May as the National Day of Remembrance, an annual public holiday celebrated in lieu of the Day of Anger or Memorial Day, which has been observed since 1984,” reads the letter obtained yesterday.

In the letter, the government also agreed “that documentation of the history of the Democratic Kampuchea regime be organised and incorporated into the academic curriculum for general education from grade 7 to grade 12, as well as the foundation curriculum of higher education institutions”.

The response made no explicit mention of a third request often voiced by testifying civil parties, and included by the co-lawyers in their own letter: that the government help to preserve “crime locations or killing fields, build stupas or worship places, [and] set up libraries or small document centres and museum or exhibitions”.

According to the government’s response, funding for the projects would be raised by the court’s Office of Administration.

Latt Ky, coordinator of the rights group Adhoc’s Khmer Rouge tribunal program, which aids nearly 1,700 civil parties, said that while the reparations were a step in the right direction, they still fell short of fulfilling the government’s responsibility to victims of the Khmer Rouge.

“They want the visible reparations, like the monument and the preservation of the crime sites,” Ky said of the civil parties, noting that even the date of the proposed Day of Remembrance was already a ruling party-tinged holiday.

“I don’t object to the day May 20, but it’s not meaningful reparations to the victims,” he said. “But I appreciate it, because [Khmer Rouge history] should be considered in the national education, let’s say, at the high school level.  I consider it an important thing.”

Cambodian Justice Initiative program officer Panhavuth Long called the approved reparations “a victory for the civil parties”, but also noted that one couldn’t rule out the possibility that the Day of Remembrance would be politicised.