Yesterday, 8 September 2022, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) facilitated the first constitutive meeting of a new working group of civil society organizations in relation to their ongoing and future work serving the needs of victim-survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime. The meeting was generously hosted by the Legal Documentation Center related to the ECCC (LDC) at their office on Russian Boulevard in Phnom Penh.
16 representatives of nine civil society organizations took part in yesterday’s meeting, in addition to the presence of Mr. HANG Vannak, chief of the Victims Support Section, Mr. PICH Ang and Ms. Falguni DEBNATH, Lead Co-Lawyers for the Civil Parties, Ms. CHEA Savon, director of the LDC, and additional staff of the ECCC and the LDC.
The May 2022 Victims Workshop demonstrated the need for a civil society working group which will remain actively involved for the duration of the ECCC residual phase related to victim-centered programs. The formation of this working group is necessary to strengthen civil society initiatives, widen the reach of the ECCC residual functions, and publicly highlight the continued need for funding and collaboration with these victim-survivor advocates from international donors and the Royal Government. Yesterday’s meeting continued the spirit of collaboration and mutual support which was demonstrated at the May 2022 workshop.
This first constitutive meeting resulted in tangible outcomes for setting up the new working group, including determining plans for a neutral secretariat led by civil society organizations and the ECCC to coordinate its activities and commitments to regular monthly meetings through the end of the year. Those present yesterday also agreed that the working group shall remain open to additional participants from any other relevant organizations or institutions with representatives in Cambodia. The administrative structure of this working group will be confirmed in detail at the next meeting in October.
This meeting also provided an opportunity for ECCC staff to remind civil society advocates of the impending pronouncement of the final judgment in Case 002/02, which the ECCC Supreme Court Chamber is scheduled to announce on 22 September 2022.
All organizations, institutions, or individual advocates wishing to join or engage with the working group are invited reach out to Mr. Daniel MATTES, outreach coordinator within the ECCC office of administration, at firstname.lastname@example.org.