Victims Participation

Who does the ECCC consider to be a Victim?

Any person or legal entity who has suffered from physical, psychological, or material harm as a direct consequence of the crimes committed in Cambodia by the Democratic Kampuchea regime between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979 that are under the jurisdiction of the ECCC.

For example: if you were detained or tortured, if you suffered from forced starvation, if you were forced to leave your home and to work hard labour against your will; if your parents, grandparents, or other family members were killed, abducted, detained, or tortured; if you lost your house, your rice fields, your animals, or other property, you may be considered a Victim.

What part do Victims play in the ECCC?
Victims have the ability to file complaints before the ECCC, and they can also apply to become Civil Parties to the proceedings if they so wish. These rights are provided for under Cambodian Law in the Internal Rules of the ECCC.

Both complainants and Civil Parties may request that their identity and other personal information be kept confidential from the public, and from other parties to the proceedings. The judges will decide on all requests to keep information private.

Victims may also be asked by the judges or the parties to the proceedings (Co-Prosecutors, Charged Person / Accused, and Civil Parties) to testify as witnesses.

What is a complainant?
Any person or legal entity who has useful information regarding the crimes of the Khmer Rouge under the jurisdiction of the ECCC can file a complaint by filling out the Victim Information Form and submitting it to the Victims Support Section (VSS). The information in the complaint may then be used to help in the investigations. Complainants do not participate as parties in hearings, and they are not entitled to ask the court for reparations. They may however be requested to give evidence or testify as witnesses.

What is a Civil Party?
Civil Parties are formal participants in the proceedings against those allegedly responsible for the crimes under investigation by the ECCC, and they enjoy rights broadly similar to the prosecution and the defence. Becoming a Civil Party not only gives Victims the right to actively participate in the proceedings, but it also allows Victims to ask the court for collective and moral reparations from the convicted persons.

What is a Witness?
Witness is a person who can give a firsthand or factual account relevant to investigations and trials that fall within the mandate of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).  This factual account is referred to as "evidence". You may be interviewed by an investigating judge or their representative.  Alternatively, you may be summoned before the Trial Chamber and be required to testify in the courtroom of the ECCC, which is located in Phnom Penh.