Vietnamese Minority Genocide Victims

Since 2008, outreach staff from the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Association and lawyers from Legal Aid of Cambodia have worked with ethnic Vietnamese individuals applying to participate as civil parties at the ECCC.  As part of the application process for victims of the Khmer Rouge regime to participate as Civil Parties, applicants completed the ECCC Victim Information Form, and in doing so, provided a detailed account of the crimes they suffered during the period of the Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge regime).  Members of the group recounted that during this period, they were persecuted, deported out of Cambodia and targeted for genocide – attacks carried out with an intention to destroy the group, in whole or in part

In September 2010, the ECCC’s Office of the Co-Investigating Judges charged Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, the four Senior Leaders accused in the Case File 002, with genocide against the Vietnamese, deportation of the Vietnamese as a crime against humanity and crimes specific to the treatment of the Vietnamese.

In January 2010, the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges, in combination with rejecting the Civil Party Lawyers’ Request For Supplementary Investigations regarding Genocide Of The Khmer Krom and The Vietnamese (see above link), also issued the first decision on civil party admissibility, essentially deeming all the ethnic Vietnamese applicants inadmissible, on the basis that the harm they suffered was not related to the “scope of judicial investigations”.

This decision was appealed by Civil Party Lawyers to the Pre-Trial Chamber, which upheld the decision of the Co-Investigating Judges.

In June 2011, , following years of appeals over their status as victims of atrocity crimes, and their admissibility as Civil Parties (conducted by international lawyer, Ms Lyma NGUYEN and national lawyers, Mr NY Chandy and Mr SAM Sokong from Legal Aid of Cambodia), the ECCC’s Pre-Trial Chamber admitted ethnic Vietnamese Civil Parties into proceedings in Case 002 against Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith (the latter having been found unfit to stand trial in September 2012).

The appeals conducted in 2009 and 2010 resulted in a decision to admit all ethnic Vietnamese applicants as Civil Parties into the Case 002 proceedings, including those originally deemed inadmissible. The Pre-Trial Chamber also decided, on its own accord, to admit Khmer Krom applicants who were originally deemed inadmissible, but who did not lodge further appeals.  The Pre-Trial Chamber noted that its previous decisions on Civil Party Appeals filed against Co-Investigating Judges’ orders on admissbility, had the effect of excluding Vietnamese and Khmer Krom applicants on erroneous legal grounds.

In granting them Civil Party status, the tribunal recognised these ethnic Vietnamese survivors as victims who have a standing to seek “moral and collective” reparations before the ECCC, having suffered personal and direct harm as a result of crimes committed by Senior Leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Reparation

As a significant number of these Civil Parties have sought access to “Cambodian nationality” as a moral and collective reparation connected with the harm they suffered following forced deportations out of Cambodia in 1975, efforts have been made to assess these civil claims and address this issue within the framework of the ECCC’s “moral and collective reparations” mandate and beyond.

  • In October 2010, Lyma presented the “Statelessness and the Ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia” Briefing Paper to UNHCR Regional Roundtable on Statelessness, Bangkok, 28-29 October 2010.
  • See Lyma Nguyen and Christoph Sperfeldt, “A Boat Without Anchors:  Report on the Legal Status of Ethnic Vietnamese Minority Populations in Cambodia under Domestic & International Laws Governing Nationality & Statelessness” (to be published by JRS Cambodia, Dec. 2012)

Altogether there have been 43 ethnic Vietnamese Civil Parties admitted by the court from Kampong Chhnang province, represented by national lawyer, Mr SAM Sokong, from Legal Aid of Cambodia and international co-lawyer, Ms Lyma NGUYEN.  These Civil Parties have formally raised a claim for recognition of, or access to, Cambodian nationality at the ECCC as a reparative measure for damages suffered as a direct result of their forced deportation out of Cambodia, by the Khmer Rouge regime.

However, unless forced deportation, persecution and / or genocide of the ethnic Vietnamese is tried before the court, and the prosecution succeeds in obtaining convictions for the crime of forced deportation of the Vietnamese out of Cambodia, there will be no judicial reparations awarded, in any form.

Other Related Stories:

  • Civil Party Tells KRT of Surviving Slaughter The Cambodia Daily | December 8 2015 | George White A civil party testifying at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday described narrowly surviving while his relatives were brutally murdered as part of the regime’s purge of ethnic Vietnamese. Choeung Yaing Chaet, 52, was giving testimony in the phase of Case 002/02 dealing with the re­gime’s treatment ...
  • Victim recalls family’s murder in KRT testimony The Phnom Penh Post | Tuesday, 8 December 2015 | Zoe Holman The lone survivor of the execution of a Vietnamese family recounted his experiences at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday as parties continued to probe the treatment of the ethnic minority under the Democratic Kampuchea regime. Civil party Choeng Yang Chat testified about events in Kampong Chhnang province ...
  • “Were you a cadre yourself?” – Defense Counsel Confronts Civil Party Cambodia Tribunal Monitor, December 3 2015 by Leonie Kijewski, LLM (Maastricht) Today, December 03 2015, Civil Party Prak Doeun concluded his testimony. He gave more details about the killing of his family. Nuon Chea Defense Counsel tried to find out whether Mr. Doeun had been forced to kill his wife and was therefore not telling the ...
  • ECCC Hears More About Vietnamese Treatment The Cambodia Daily, December 4 2015, by PETER FORD The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday finished hearing testimony from civil party Prak Doeun, 73, who had told the court on Wednesday how a group of ethnically Vietnamese women and children, including his own wife and son, had been brutally killed by the regime. Under questioning from lawyers for ...
  • Marriages, executions described at tribunal The Phnom Penh Post, Friday, 4 December 2015 Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon A civil party and a witness described the Khmer Rouge’s institution of forced marriages and the disappearances of ethnic Vietnamese, respectively, in testimony at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe questioned civil party Prak Doeun about his attendance at a forced marriage ceremony ...
  • Civil Party Says KR Used Bayonets on Children Cambodia Daily, December 3 2015 by GEORGE WRIGHT A civil party told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday that his young son was killed by being thrown into the air and pierced with a bayonet while his wife and mother-in-law were thrown into pits as ethnic Vietnamese were exterminated in Kompong Chhnang province. In 1966, Prak Doeun, ...
  • KRT witness tells of Vietnamese wife’s fate The Phnom Penh Post, Thursday, 3 December 2015 by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon Civil party Prak Doeun described the segregation, deportation and at times murder of ethnic Vietnamese – including his own wife and children – at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. In 1966, Doeun, an 18-year-old Khmer, married Bou Samban, a Cambodian woman of Vietnamese mixed descent from ...
  • Civil Party testifies on Killing of his Ethnic Vietnamese Family Members On 2 December 2015, a civil party testified about the killing of his ethnic Vietnamese wife and family and forced marriage. The questioning continued on 3 December 2015.
  • Without Citizenship, Vietnamese Remain Adrift By Chris Mueller and Khuon Narim | February 4, 2015 | The Cambodia Daily KANDAL VILLAGE, Kompong Chhnang Province – Though they live in floating houses moored to the banks of the Tonle Sap river, few of the nearly 2,500 ethnic Vietnamese villagers here can truly call Cambodia home. Like many of his neighbors in Kompong Chhnang ...
  • Victim Participation and Minorities: Ethnic Vietnamese Civil Parties at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia By Lyma Nguyen and Christoph Sperfeldt, Macquarie Law Journal, 2014 Volume 14 page 97 In 2010, the Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) charged four senior leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime with genocide against two minority groups, the Cham and the ethnic Vietnamese. This article examines the role ...

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Link to Stateless People: The Ethnic Vietnamese of Cambodia

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