Statement from the Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers on the Release of the Final Judgement of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia

The Civil Party Co-Lead Lawyers welcome the final judgment of the Supreme Court Chamber in Case 002/02. The Chamber upheld and confirmed Khieu Samphân’s criminal convictions for crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, and genocide. This judgment, together with the judgments in Case 002/01, demonstrates Cambodia’s and the International Community’s repudiation of the criminal conduct perpetrated by Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphân, both senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The ECCC heard the harrowing testimonies of 123 witnesses throughout the trial phase of Case 001 and 002 and the testimonies of 116 Civil Parties. Their stories of torture, religious and political persecution, enslavement, forced marriage, rape, sexual violence, extermination, and murder were accepted by the judges, established permanently in the Court record, and will become an important part of the legacy of the ECCC.

The crimes were committed in Cambodia during the Democratic Kampuchea period. However, those who were convicted, violated not only Cambodia’s laws, but also international law. The judgments contributed valuable legal principles to the body of international criminal law and will continue to have an impact far beyond Cambodia.

While the judicial process is ending, the work with civil parties and other victims will continue. Their suffering can never be made whole but Cambodia and the world has recognized that what happened to them was unjustifiable and can never be forgotten.

The ECCC acknowledged 11 projects in Case 002/01 and 13 projects in Case 002/02 for moral and collective reparations for the Civil Parties (Cambodians, as well as Vietnamese and Cham minorities). These projects were implemented by civil society organizations in co-operation with the Lead Co-Lawyers and the Victims Support Section with generous assistance from the international community.

These projects were developed in consultation with civil parties and in response to the harm suffered by them during the Khmer Rouge regime. The projects were divided into categories Remembrance and Memorialization, Rehabilitation, Education and Documentation, Guarantee of Non-Repetition, and Satisfaction. The projects pay tribute to deceased victims, provide access to medical and psychological care for survivors, maintain and deepen historical knowledge of the Khmer Rouge regime, promote mechanisms for preventing and monitoring, and peacefully resolving social conflicts. They also educate the younger generation about Civil Party experiences and engage with them through art and culture, classroom forums, intergenerational dialogue, educational materials and books. Such engagement with the younger generation benefits the Civil Parties by providing acknowledgement and commemoration of their suffering

With the continued assistance of the Royal Cambodian Government and the international community, the ECCC will continue to work with Civil Parties and victims during the residual mechanism phase of the Court.

We recognize the significant impact of the work of the ECCC in holding those who perpetrate the most serious crimes, and offend international law, to account. We thank the Royal Cambodian Government and the United Nations for its support of the work of the ECCC and look forward to the next important phase of the ECCC.

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