The Extraordinary Chambers of Cambodia: Searching for Accountability for the Atrocities of the Khmer Rouge
International Law News, v. 43, n. 3, 16-18, Summer 2014
4 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2015
Date Written: March 24, 2014
The ECCC has faced substantial criticism, much of it with at least some level of justification. The cost and pace of trials are a significant concern. Despite these criticisms, however, the work of the ECCC is profoundly important. International courts will never try every perpetrator – such has never been the intent at any such tribunal, nor was it here. Rather, the goal is to focus on those most responsible, to bring them to trial and allow their victims to participate in efforts to bring those offenders to justice. Regardless of the number of cases that are ultimately concluded at the ECCC, the number of those tried will always be very small, as will be the number of victims who participate in the trials. Yet the ECCC brings a focus on this dark period in Cambodia’s history, making factual findings, beyond a reasonable doubt, regarding perpetrators of such acts, while, as described by the International Federation for Human Rights, affording civil parties “the most complete system of victim participation.”
Moreover, as the ECCC is part of the Cambodian legal system, it provides jurisprudence and practice applicable in other Cambodian courts. While improvements can and should be made, even the most cursory review of the trial judgment in the Duch case proves the extraordinary value of the court. In the jurisprudence of the ECCC, current and future generations will always have a resource, comprised of findings made beyond a reasonable doubt, which details the unimaginable horrors occurred, the victims harmed, and the judgments meted out.
JEL Classification: K14, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation