Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Action against Impunity at the ECCC
On 9 May 2011, Co-Lawyers for Civil Parties filed two Civil Party Applications to the Victims Support Section for clients who suffered harm connected with the work site, Kampong Chhnang Airport in relation to Case 003.
Both continue to suffer mental harm today because of the forced labour and other crimes that they or their family endured at this crime site.
According to the Closing Order in Case 002 ‘the construction of the Kampong Chhnang Airport was under the control of Centre Division 502. This Division was created shortly after 17 April 1975, merging personnel from pre-existing units. Like the other Centre Divisions, it reported directly to the General Staff and its Chairman Son Sen. Division 502 was notably in charge of the RAK air force and responsible for all airports in Cambodia. The Secretary of the Committee of Division 502 was SOU Meth who visited Kampong Chhnang Airport Construction Site on a regular basis’.
We have sufficient reasons to believe that this crime site is under the scope of the investigations in Case 003 despite the fact that the Co-Investigating Judges failed to inform the public and in particular, victims and potential civil parties, about the scope of investigations in Cases 003 and 004.
In Case 003, the failure to inform victims about the scope of investigations amounts to a deprivation of their participation rights. Access to the Case file has not yet been granted by the Co-Investigating Judges to the Co-Lawyers of Civil Party Applicant Robert Hamill. Without access to the case file, applicants are prevented from taking any meaningful actions as per their rights under the Internal Rules, such as filing investigative requests. It is becoming clear that Cases 003 (and 004) are cases in which impunity will likely prevail for those who are “most responsible”, within the jurisdiction of the court. The interference of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) through the public opposition to more than five accused persons is blatant and clearly having its effect on the court’s operations. It is also disconcerting that the international community and the United Nations remains silent and have not taken appropriate actions.
Even though the International Co-Prosecutor has today, announced the scope of the investigations in Case 003, this does not exempt the OCIJ of its duties to inform the public.
Despite the very real fear our clients have of the suspects and the RGC, they have courageously submitted their applications to the court, filed as strictly confidential. They seek justice and want Cases 003 (and 004) properly investigated.
Mr. HONG Kimsuon
Ms. Silke STUDZINSKY
Co-Lawyers for Civil Parties