Today at the Victims Workshop organized by the ECCC, the participants continued their conversations in working groups related to different goals and topics for designing victim initiatives for the residual phase of the Extraordinary Chambers. During a midpoint plenary session to update one another, the groups each presented their suggestions for programs, perspectives on shared principles and values, and comments on one another’s presentations. Civil Parties shared their suggestions, as did representatives of groups discussing seven different themes or topics: mental health and long-term care for aging victims; developing engaging tools from the court’s archives and documents; historical sites, monuments, and acts of remembrance; ethnic and religious minorities; access to justice and legal aid; intergenerational dialogues, youth, and oral histories; and recognition and reparation for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
Workshop participants also heard from two detailed and thought-provoking keynote speakers. Dr. Christoph Sperfeldt, the honorary fellow at Melbourne Law School, presented a detailed summary of the ECCC scheme of reparations and non-judicial measures. Among other lessons learned, he noted how victim-survivors should be treated as active stakeholders involved in program designs and not merely passive beneficiaries of programs made for them by others. He emphasized the need for regular communication with survivors, and also the opportunity and necessity for developing meaningful programs which respond to Cambodia’s population largely born after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. The second keynote speaker was Dato’ Shyamala Alagendra, a distinguished Malaysian lawyer with extensive international experience variously as a prosecutor, victims’ advocate, and defense counsel in East Timor, Sierra Leone (SCSL), and at the International Criminal Court (ICC). She has recently been involved with international inquiries into crimes in both Myanmar and Sri Lanka. In her keynote speech, she provided a comparative perspective on the important role of the ECCC and the model that it has served for the region and shared relevant experiences from other tribunals where she has worked. She offered a recommendation to the guests: “As you design this next residual phase, please think about whose voices were not recognized.” She asked that stakeholders “be aware of the risk of prolonging victimhood through residual processes. Allow [victims] to move on.” She concluded by reminding participants that although it may be the last chapter, the residual phase is not the least important phase of the ECCC’s process.
The workshop will conclude tomorrow with further discussions, a final keynote speech, and a closing plenary session open to the public. The plenary and closing events will also be streamed on the ECCC’s website and Facebook page.