Background to Civil Party Participation
Internal Rule 23 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC, or Khmer Rouge Tribunal) allows victims to participate as civil parties in criminal proceedings against senior leaders from the Khmer Rouge regime and those most responsible. Civil parties have a role to participate by “supporting the prosecution”, and the right to seek “moral and collective reparations”.
In giving victims of mass crimes the right to participate as civil parties alongside the criminal proceedings, this provision has extended victims’ rights in an unprecedented way, internationally. However, the Internal Rules have, since 2007, been amended by various plenaries of the ECCC’s Rules and Procedure Committee to introduce limitations to the nature, scope and rights of civil parties, according to the Courts / Judges, in response to the unanticipated volume of victims who applied to participate in Case 002 of the court’s proceedings, against IENG Sary, IENG Thirith, NUON Chea and KHIEU Samphan (Case 002 defendants) at the ECCC, and a need to ensure the efficient conduct of the case before the ECCC’s Trial Chambers
As at 14 February 2010, the ECCC’s Victims Support Section has received over 8000 Victim Information Forms, with around half of these from civil party applicants.
In August and September 2010, the Co-Investigating Judges issued mass decisions concerning admissibility of all civil party applicants, where they rejected nearly 50%of the Applicants. Civil Party Lawyers appealed, resulting in admissions to 98% of the civil parties previously deemed inadmissible.
Relevant Legal Documents:
- Agreement Between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution Under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea.
- Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers, with inclusion of amendments as promulgated on 27 October 2004 (NS/RKM/1004/006).
- Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Internal Rules (Rev 8), as amended on 3 August 2011.
- Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Practice Direction 02/2007: Victim Participation.
For more information on the ECCC legal documents you can visit the ECCC website here.
For other publications on civil party participations in the ECCC, visit our Publication page.