Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Documentation Center of Cambodia Welcomes the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Staff

Phnom Penh, December 6, 2006
Youk Chhang, Director

The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) wishes to express its gratitude to both the Royal Government of Cambodia and United Nations on making the long-awaited trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders a reality. As the final administrative arrangements for the tribunal will begin in January, DC-Cam would like to take this opportunity to voice three concerns.

First, we encourage both the Royal Government and UN to take steps to ensure that the Cambodian people are kept fully informed on all aspects of the tribunal. The RGC has taken a good first step with its publication of a brochure about the trials last year. The survivors of the Democratic Kampuchea regime have waited over 25 years for the trials to begin and deserve to see justice done. Thus, the RGC and UN should both publicize the proceedings on the radio, television, and print, and find ways to help average citizens participate in the tribunals through attending trials, public meetings, and other means. We also urge the RGC and UN to support the work of local and international NGOs in educating and involving the Cambodian people about the tribunal. Without the involvement of the Cambodian people, the trials will lose value and meaning.

Second, given the importance of informing and educating the average Cambodian citizen about the workings of the tribunal, it is extremely important that all of the tribunal’s Public Affairs Office staff be fluent in Khmer, who are intimately familiar with Cambodia and its culture, and who ideally are also Cambodian or of Cambodian heritage.

Third, it is not possible to emphasize how important it is that all aspects of the trial proceedings are transparent. Transparency should begin with the selection of judges and those who will head various offices and departments for the tribunal. If the Cambodian judicial system is to advance and public confidence in it is to grow, the UN and Royal Government must demonstrate that these personnel are selected in a fair and open way, and one that is free from political influence.


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