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The survivor's voices: Attitudes on the ECCC, the former Khmer Rouge and Civil Party Participation

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This report describes the findings of two surveys conducted in Cambodia. The first survey was conducted between October 3, 2008 and May 22, 2009. Participants were born before 1975 and considered themselves to be victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. The total sample consisted of N=1,077 respondents. About one quarter of the sample (n=247) had applied to become Civil Parties before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). These Civil Party applicants were among the first victims who applied to the ECCC. The participants were asked about their attitudes towards the former Khmer Rouge, the ECCC, possible reparations and their readiness to reconcile with the perpetrators. Furthermore, the Civil Party applicants were interviewed about their reasons for participating in the tribunal. In the second survey, which was carried out between November 2, 2010 and December 10, 2010, the Civil Party applicants were interviewed again. Of the 247 Civil Party applicants from the first survey, 91.5% (n=226) could be interviewed again. Objectives here were to find out about the effect that the application to and participation in the ECCC had on the Civil Party applicants and their families, sources of legal and psychosocial support, knowledge about the proceedings and especially how the first trial against Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was perceived. Our main findings were: Among survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime the ECCC is highly appreciated. The follow-up survey showed that Civil Party applicants did not report negative consequences in relation to their applications. Furthermore, they seemed to place trust in the court and expressed satisfaction with its work. Many respondents expected the ECCC to contribute to reconciliation and also expressed that it had led to a greater inclination towards reconciliation in themselves. The most common reason for filing an application form was to seek justice and to take revenge for what had happened under the Khmer Rouge regime. Reparations were considered as being important by most of the participants. Contrary to the rules of the ECCC, many favored individual monetary compensation over moral or collective compensation. However, Civil Party applicants expressed a wish to have ceremonies for deceased family members more often than survivors who did not apply to the ECCC. Civil Parties were satisfied with the support they received from their lawyers and were backed by their family members. Many participants indicated that they had followed the proceedings at the ECCC. However, many Civil Party applicants seem to have had a lack of information about their applications and the proceedings at the court. Nevertheless, the first trial against Duch and the respective judgment were received positively. Civil Party applicants were found to talk mainly to their family members and other survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime about their painful pasts. Most of them consider ceremonies for the deceased and the documentation of their experiences as being a helpful measure in the relief of their suffering.
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Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
The Survivors’ Voices:
Attitudes on the ECCC, the Former
Khmer Rouge and Experiences
with Civil Party Participation
DECEMBER 2010
DECEMBER 2010
NADINE STAMMEL
SEBASTIAN BURCHERT
SOPHEAP TAING
ESTELLE BOCKERS
CHRISTINE KNAEVELSRUD
The Survivors’ Voices:
Attitudes on the ECCC, the
Former Khmer Rouge and
Civil Party Participation
DECEMBER 2010
NADINE STAMMEL
SEBASTIAN BURCHERT
SOPHEAP TAING
ESTELLE BOCKERS
CHRISTINE KNAEVELSRUD
The Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims (bzfo) was founded in 1992 with support from
the German Red Cross. The bfzo is a non-profit association committed to the rehabilitation of torture
victims.
The surveys presented in this report were carried out in collaboration with TPO Cambodia. The survey
findings were released in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 17 December, 2010. This report was re-printed with
minor editing to the original version.
The surveys were made possible by grants from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Psychology
Beyond Borders (PBB). The funding agencies were not involved in the design, implementation, analysis, or
reporting of the results. The information provided and views expressed in this publication are those of the
authors and do not necessarily represent those of the funding agencies.
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
Table of Contents
0. Executive Summary ..........................................................................................................................................6
1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................................................7
2. Background .......................................................................................................................................................9
2.1 The Khmer Rouge Regime ..........................................................................................................................9
2.2 The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) ............................................................ 12
2.3 Victim Participation ................................................................................................................................. 16
3. Study with Direct Survivors (2008/2009) ...................................................................................................... 24
3.1 Methodology ........................................................................................................................................... 24
3.2 Measures ................................................................................................................................................. 26
3.3 Results ..................................................................................................................................................... 27
4. Study with Civil Party Applicants (2010) ........................................................................................................ 38
4.1 Methodology ........................................................................................................................................... 38
4.2 Measures ................................................................................................................................................. 40
4.3 Results ..................................................................................................................................................... 40
5. Discussion ...................................................................................................................................................... 61
6. Authors and Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. 72
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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0. Executive Summary
This report describes the findings of two surveys
conducted in Cambodia. The first survey was
conducted between October 3, 2008 and May 22,
2009. Participants were born before 1975 and
considered themselves to be victims of the
Khmer Rouge regime. The total sample consisted
of N=1,077 respondents. About one quarter of
the sample (n=247) had applied to become Civil
Parties before the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). These Civil Party
applicants were among the first victims who
applied to the ECCC.
The participants were asked about their attitudes
towards the former Khmer Rouge, the ECCC,
possible reparations and their readiness to
reconcile with the perpetrators. Furthermore, the
Civil Party applicants were interviewed about
their reasons for participating in the tribunal.
In the second survey, which was carried out
between November 2, 2010 and December 10,
2010, the Civil Party applicants were interviewed
again. Of the 247 Civil Party applicants from the
first survey, 91.5% (n=226) could be interviewed
again.
Objectives here were to find out about the effect
that the application to and participation in the
ECCC had on the Civil Party applicants and their
families, sources of legal and psychosocial
support, knowledge about the proceedings and
especially how the first trial against Kaing Guek
Eav, alias Duch, was perceived. Our main findings
were:
Among survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime the
ECCC is highly appreciated. The follow-up survey
showed that Civil Party applicants did not report
negative consequences in relation to their
applications. Furthermore, they seemed to place
trust in the court and expressed satisfaction with
its work. Many respondents expected the ECCC
to contribute to reconciliation and also
expressed that it had led to a greater inclination
towards reconciliation in themselves. The most
common reason for filing an application form
was to seek justice and to take revenge for what
had happened under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Reparations were considered as being important
by most of the participants. Contrary to the rules
of the ECCC, many favored individual monetary
compensation over moral or collective
compensation. However, Civil Party applicants
expressed a wish to have ceremonies for
deceased family members more often than
survivors who did not apply to the ECCC.
Civil Parties were satisfied with the support they
received from their lawyers and were backed by
their family members. Many participants
indicated that they had followed the
proceedings at the ECCC. However, many Civil
Party applicants seem to have had a lack of
information about their applications and the
proceedings at the court.
Nevertheless, the first trial against Duch and the
respective judgment were received positively.
Civil Party applicants were found to talk mainly
to their family members and other survivors of
the Khmer Rouge regime about their painful
pasts. Most of them consider ceremonies for the
deceased and the documentation of their
experiences as being a helpful measure in the
relief of their suffering.
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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1. Introduction
For the first time, and more than 30 years after
the devastating events that occurred under the
Khmer Rouge regime (1975–1979), former
perpetrators are being brought before an official
tribunal that applies international law standards:
the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of
Cambodia (ECCC).
The ECCC represents a unique endeavor in
international justice as well as in Cambodian
national law. A new approach distinguishes it
from former international war crimes tribunals.
The ECCC is located in Cambodia itself and
consists of Cambodian and international staff
that apply both Cambodian and international
law in an hybrid approach.
For the first time in the history of war crimes
tribunals, victims are allowed to actively
participate in the court proceedings as Civil
Parties.
In addition the ECCC is the first international
tribunal with a specific reparations mandate.
The above-mentioned characteristics of the ECCC
offer new opportunities for broad participation
by the affected population and provide an
environment that aims to bring justice to the
people.
This report contains the findings of two surveys
carried out with survivors of the Khmer Rouge
regime.
A first survey with 1,077 respondents was
conducted in various provinces in Cambodia
between October 3, 2008 and May 22, 2009, in
the run up to the court’s first trial.
The main questions of the first survey were:
Which incidents did the respondents experience during the rule of the regime?
How do they view the former Khmer Rouge today?
What attitudes and expectations do they hold in relation to the trials?
What opinions are held in terms of reparations and what kind of reparations are claimed?
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Of the 1077 participants about one fourth had
applied to become Civil Parties to the ECCC.
A follow-up survey was started on November 2,
2010 and completed by December 12, 2010. Here
respondents of the first survey, who had applied
to become Civil Parties, were interviewed again,
on average 1.7 years after the first interview.
In the second survey 226 interviews were
conducted.
In the aftermath of the sentencing of the first
trial, and with a second trial due in 2011, the
following questions were addressed and will
make up the main part of this report:
What experiences did the survivors have in terms of their Civil Party applications to the
ECCC (outreach, support by organizations and lawyers)?
To what extent were their own or their families’ lives affected by their activities in relation
to the ECCC?
What attitudes do they have towards the first trial and its verdict?
What kind of psychosocial support is sought by the survivors in order to deal with their
painful pasts?
This report is organized into five chapters.
Chapter 2 will outline background information
on the Khmer Rouge regime, the ECCC, victim
participation and reparations in the context of
the court. Within chapter 3 methods and findings
of the first study will be presented. This is
followed by recent results from the second
survey in chapter 4. Finally chapter 5 contains a
summary of the main findings and a discussion
related to the field of Civil Party participation.
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1 Carney, T. (1989). The Unexpected Victory. In: Jackson, K.D. (ed.) Cambodia, 1975-1978: Rendevouz with Death,
New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
2 Tully, J. (2005). A Short History of Cambodia, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
3 Kiernan, B. (2008). The Pol Pot Regime, New Haven: Yale University Press.
4 Carney, T. (1989). The Unexptected Victory. In: Jackson, K.D. (ed.) Cambodia, 1975-1978: Rendevouz with Death,
New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
2. Background
2.1 The Khmer Rouge Regime
The Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK)—
better known as the Khmer Rouge—emerged in
1966 from the Khmer People’s Revolutionary
Party (KPRP), which was originally an anti-French
movement fighting against colonial occupation
and for Cambodian independence (“Khmer
Issarak”).
The roots of the KPRP lie in the spread of
communist ideology in the French colonies of
Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) in the
1940s and 50s.1
Under Prince Sihanouk, royalist forces finally
achieved independence in 1953.2
As head of state, the prince immediately began
to persecute radical communist groups in the
country—he also coined the term “Khmer
Rouge.”
He was referring to rather small and politically
insignificant factions.3 Later the term would be
adopted internationally to denote the CPK.
Things changed though when the Vietnamese
conflict escalated in the 1960s to the point that
neighboring countries like Cambodia were
drawn into the fighting.
Prince Sihanouk became an ally of the
Vietnamese communist forces and support
lines—popularly referred to as the “Ho Chi Minh
Trail”—were established on Cambodian territory.
A growing Vietnamese influence along these
lines strengthened the local communist
movement and became the target of United
States carpet bombardments from 1969
onwards.4
The Sihanouk administration became
increasingly destabilized by the communist
opposition that grew into a serious military force.
The situation was further destabilized by the
growing number of civilian casualties caused by
military strikes and the political interference of
the United States.
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5 Kiernan B. (1989). The American Bombardment of Kampuchea, 1969 -1973, Vietnam Generation, 1(1).
6 Kiernan, B. (2008). The Pol Pot Regime, New Haven: Yale University Press.
7Tully, J. (2005). A Short History of Cambodia, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
In 1970 Lon Nol—the Prime Minister of
Cambodia at that time—overthrew Sihanouk in a
US-backed military coup.
It was as a guerilla movement fighting against
the new government that the Khmer Rouge
could finally gain broad popular support among
the civilian population.
This was not least because the former head of
state, Prince Sihanouk—who still had the
collective respect of many Cambodians—joined
sides with the Khmer Rouge after being forced
into exile.
Under Lon Nol the United States bombardments
intensified. An estimated 0.5 million tons of
bombs were dropped—the civil population
suffered severely. It is estimated that over
100,000 people lost their lives as a result of the
US bombardment.5
This lead directly to civil war and the Khmer
Rouge was able to present themselves as
defenders of Cambodia against the US
“imperialists”, counting on a stable flow of often
young soldiers who had often lost relatives in the
fighting. When the Vietnam War ended in 1975
the Khmer Rouge had already occupied most of
the country and only extensive military aid from
the Unites States had kept Lon Nol in power.
When this support ended, the Khmer Rouge was
finally able to capture the capital Phnom Penh on
April 17, 1975. From this day on, the period of the
“Khmer Rouge regime” began.
On the very same day the Khmer Rouge soldiers
set in motion the deportation of the entire urban
population from major Cambodian cities to the
countryside. 6
Cambodia was transformed radically in an
attempt to turn the country into a classless
agrarian-based society.
Fundamental elements of the old society and
Cambodian culture were abolished—schools,
universities, monasteries and courts were closed,
television and radio stations stopped
broadcasting, free markets and the use of money
were prohibited, religious practice, traditional
rituals and even the use of foreign languages
were banned.7
The “Angkar”—the organization—as the leaders
of the party were now called, demanded servile
obedience and had to be respected as “mother
and father” of the people.
Almost the entire population had to work in rural
areas, mostly in agricultural projects.
Forced labor was common, as were food
shortages. Thousands had already died during
the evacuations and many more starved to
death, died due to illness or exhaustion or were
first tortured and then killed in the extensive
prison system established in former monasteries,
mosques, churches and schools.
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8 Kiernan, B. (2008). The Pol Pot Regime, New Haven: Yale University Press.
9 Tully, J. (2005). A Short History of Cambodia, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
10 Rowley, K. (2005) Second Life, Second Death The Khmer Rouge After 1978. In Cook, S.E. (ed.) Genocide in
Cambodia and Rwanda. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
11 Ibid.
12 Sonis, J., Gibson, J. L., de Jong, J. T., Field, N. P., Hean, S., & Komproe, I. (2009). Probable posttraumatic stress
disorder and disability in Cambodia: associations with perceived justice, desire for revenge, and attitudes
toward the Khmer Rouge trials. JAMA, 302(5), 527-536.
13 de Jong, J. T., Komproe, I. H., Van Ommeren, M., El Masri, M., Araya, M. & Khaled, N. (2001). Lifetime events
and posttraumatic stress disorder in 4 postconflict settings. JAMA, 286(5), 555-562.
Any form of protest as well as any signs of higher
education could lead directly to execution. In
particular former intellectuals, teachers, soldiers,
government officials and members of ethnic
minorities were systematically hunted down.
At least 1.7 million people lost their lives—about
every fourth Cambodian at that time.8
Meanwhile Cambodia’s relations with its
Vietnamese neighbors grew increasingly hostile
and on January 7, 1979 the Khmer Rouge were
overthrown by Vietnamese troops.9
Many of those who survived the regime were
severely traumatized by their experiences.
Fighting between Khmer Rouge forces and
government forces continued for more than a
decade.10
Following international mediation, the Paris
Peace Agreement was signed in 1991, which led
to a United Nations mission being sent to
Cambodia (United Nations Transitional Authority
in Cambodia, UNTAC) to ensure free elections—
these took place in 1993.
The Khmer Rouge refused to cooperate with the
UNTAC even though they had been part of the
original peace agreement.11
In some isolated strongholds their leaders—
among them some of those who are now in the
custody of the ECCC—remained in power until
the movement finally collapsed in 1998.
Even 30 years later, Cambodians still suffer from
their losses and painful memories.
Almost every citizen lost family members and
many where physically and psychologically
harmed.
Compared to the populations of other post-
conflict countries, Cambodians have an
exceptionally high rate of posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), reportedly between 11.2%12 and
28.4%.13
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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14 For further details see the official webpage of the ECCC, http://www.eccc.gov.kh/
15 Internal Rules, June 12, 2007, Preamble, Retrieved November 14, 2010:
www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/files/irs/ECCC_IRs_English_2007_06_12.pdf
16 Internal Rules, June 12, 2007, Rule 5; Rule 98.
2.2 The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)
Establishment
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of
Cambodia (ECCC) were created as a cooperative
endeavor by the United Nations and the
Kingdom of Cambodia.
Following an official request by the Cambodian
government, as early as 1997, negotiations about
the possibilities of UN assistance lasted until
2003 when an agreement was met.14
In June 2007 the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia adopted their Internal Rules
and started working on their mandate to “[…]
trial senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea
and those who are most responsible for crimes
and serious violations of Cambodian penal law
and international humanitarian law and custom
and international conventions recognized by
Cambodia, that were committed during the
period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979”.15
Organization and Scope
The ECCC is implemented within the Cambodian
legal system, working largely with international
funding and a mixed workforce consisting of
international members of staff and Cambodians.
Important positions within the court—for
example the Co-Prosecution, responsible for
investigations prior to the actual trials to
ascertain whether there is sufficient evidence to
justify a trial—are staffed by two officials. One of
them has to be from the international
community and the other must be Cambodian.
In the chambers of the court, nationals represent
the majority, but decisions have to be made
according to the principle of supermajority.16 For
example in the trial chamber, which consists of
three national and two international judges,
every decision can only be made with a
minimum of four votes. Therefore, the vote of at
least one international judge is required for any
decision. Because of the incorporation of
national and international features, the ECCC is
called a hybrid court.
Furthermore, the ECCC is a criminal measure:
perpetrators are held accountable for crimes
they have committed and receive an individual
punishment, serving the notion of justice in
which the wrongdoing has to be paid for.
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17 Hayner, P.B. (1994). Fifteen Truth Commissions -- 1974 to 1994: A Comparative Study [Digital Version]. Human
Rights Quarterly, 16 (4), 597-655. Publication. Retrieved November 9, 2010:
http://pics3441.upmf-grenoble.fr/articles/huma/Fifteen%20Truth%20Commissions--1974%20to%201994.pdf
18 Bockers, E., Stammel, N., & Knaevelsrud, C. (in press). Reconciliation in Cambodia: 30 Years after the Terror of
the Khmer Rouge regime. Torture.
19 Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror.
New York: Basic Books.
20 Survivors' Perceptions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Suggestions for the Final Report
[Electronic Resource]. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation & the Khulumani Support Group.
Retrieved November 16, 2010: http://www.csvr.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=728
21 Linton, S. (2004). Reconciliation in Cambodia. Documentation Center of Cambodia. And therein the reference
to the judgment of Anto Furund’ija before the ICTY, December 10, 1998 (VII, G, 288). Retrieved November 15,
2010: http://www.icty.org/x/cases/furundzija/tjug/en/fur-tj981210e.pdf
22 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rules 21 & 23.
This approach is subsumed under the term
retributive justice and has already been applied
in a number of “ad hoc” tribunals like the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda (ICTR).
An alternative path to retributive approaches is
given in measures of restorative justice. They are
represented for example by truth and
reconciliation commissions.
Under this category fall approaches encouraging
perpetrators to openly testify while offering
them an amnesty in exchange, which was
realized, for example, in South America (for
instance in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador) and
South Africa.17
Here, the main emphasis lies on reconciliation
processes brought about by bringing former
conflicting parties together and publicly
acknowledging the suffering of victims and
survivors of human rights violations.18 In the field
of posttraumatic stress reactions, the
acknowledgement of injustice that has occurred
is considered an integral part of the healing
process.19 This was also intended to be the case
in those societies in which a truth and
reconciliation commission has been
established.20
Although a tribunal like the ECCC has a different
scope, and also different outcomes compared to
a truth commission, it is assumed that tribunals
should also contribute to reconciliation while
addressing impunity at the same time.21
The ECCC adopted a different approach to other
tribunals, like the ICTY or the ICTR, especially in
terms of the issue of victim participation. The
court has made it its mandate to take decisive
steps to ensure the active participation of victims
in the proceedings and to ensure the legal
certainty and transparency of proceedings.22
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23 KAING Guek Eav alias Duch, Judgment, July 26, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2010:
www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/635/20100726_Judgement_Case_001_ENG_PUBLIC.pdf
24 Recent Developments at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: September 2010 Update.
Open Society Institute. Retrieved November 16, 2010:
http://www.soros.org/initiatives/justice/focus/international_justice/articles_publications/publications/
cambodia-report-20109002
25 Pham, P., Vinck, P., Balthazard, M., Hean, S., & Stover, E. (2009). So we will never forget. A population based
Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Publication. Retrieved November 16, 2010: http://hrc.berkeley.edu/pdfs/So-We-Will-Never-Forget.pdf
The latter includes, for example, public
broadcasting of the trial hearings and providing
facilities for visitors to the ECCC complex in
Phnom Penh.
The Accused
To this date pre-trial investigations have been
completed in two cases (referred to as Case 001
and Case 002). Case 001 started in March 2009
with the trial against Kaing Guek Eav, alias
Duch—the former head of the notorious Khmer
Rouge torture prison Tuol Sleng (S-21).
On July 26, 2010 the judgment was handed
down and Duch was found guilty of war crimes
and crimes against humanity and was convicted
to 35 years in prison. The sentence was reduced
by 5 years because of his illegal military
detention prior to the establishment of the
ECCC.23 Given that Duch had already spent 11
years in prison when the judgment came into
force he will have to spend another 19 years in
jail.
With this judgment the court presented the first
sentence against a Khmer Rouge official that had
ever been handed down according to
international rules of law and after a fair trial.24
Following the Closing Order in Case 002 from
September 15, 2010, the court will carry out
hearings in the cases of four high-ranking Khmer
Rouge leaders in 2011.
They are Ieng Sary, the former Prime Minister and
former Minister of Foreign Affairs; his wife Ieng
Tirith, the former Minister of Social Affairs; Nuon
Chea, the former second-in-command, after Pol
Pot; and Khieu Samphan, the former President of
Democratic Kampuchea.
Attitudes Towards the Tribunal
A survey conducted by the Human Rights Center
of the University of California, Berkeley25, showed
that Cambodians consider the greatest potential
of the ECCC as being its ability to bring justice to
the victims and punish perpetrators, with the
most relevant positive impacts being that of
seeing the responsible persons imprisoned and
discovering the truth for the victims.
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26 Lambourne, W. (2008). 'The Khmer Rouge Tribunal: Justice for Genocide in Cambodia?'. Law and Society
Association Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) Conference 2008 'W(h)ither Humand Rights' 10-12 December
University of Sydney. Publication. Retrieved November 10, 2010:
http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/4042/1/LSAANZ%20Lambourne%20Cambodia%20conf%20
paper%20final.pdf
27 Linton, S. (2004). Reconciliation in Cambodia. Documentation Center of Cambodia.
28 Münyas, B. (2008). Genocide in the minds of Cambodian youth: transmitting (hi)stories of genocide to second
and third generations in Cambodia. Journal of Genocide Research, 10 (3), 413-439.
29 Sonis at al. (2009). Probable posttraumatic stress disorder and disability in Cambodia: associations with
perceived justice, desire for revenge, and attitudes toward the Khmer Rouge trials.
30 Field, N. & Chhim, S. (2008). Desire for revenge and attitudes toward the Khmer Rouge tribunal among
Cambodians. J Loss Trauma. 13(4), 352-372.
Cambodians have expressed their desire for a
tribunal on several occasions in the past.26 The
Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM)
highlights the fact that the long period of
impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators represents
a particular burden for the victims.
Many questions still have to be answered given
that even the direct survivors only have a scarce
knowledge about the background and
mechanisms of the regime.27 Moreover, there is a
need to finally get an answer to the often-asked
question: “Why did Khmer kill Khmer?” (p. 413)28
Sonis and colleagues pointed out that
Cambodians generally expected positive effects
from the tribunal, specifically that it would help
to find out what really happened under the
regime and that it would protect the country
from similar events in the future. On the other
hand they were concerned that the tribunal
might revive hurtful memories.29
Furthermore, Field and Chhim showed30 that
respondents who were expecting the unearthing
of painful memories also exhibited a higher
desire for revenge compared to other
participants. Additionally those with a higher
desire for revenge also expressed a higher desire
to attend the trial hearings and to testify before
the court. The authors identified revenge as “an
important factor in adjustment to large-scale
human perpetrated trauma” (p. 367). They were
able to further show that revenge mediates a
number of other factors in their effects on
attitudes towards the Khmer Rouge tribunal.
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31 Political Interference at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: July 6, 2010. Open Society
Institute. Retrieved November 16, 2010:
http://www.soros.org/initiatives/justice/focus/international_justice/articles_publications/publications/
political-interference-report-20100706
32 Carranza, R. (2009) Practical, Feasible and Meaningful: How the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Can Fulfill its
Reparations Mandate. International Center for Transitional Justice. Publication. Retrieved November 9, 2010:
http://www.ictj.org/static/Publications/ICTJ_Carranza_KH_ECCCReparations_Nov2009_Eng.pdf
33 Trumbull, C.P. (2008). The Victims of Victim Participation in International Criminal Proceedings. Michigan
Journal of International Law, 29 (4), 777-826. Publication. Retrieved November 16, 2010:
http://students.law.umich.edu/mjil/article-pdfs/v29n4-trumbull.pdf
34 McKay, F. (2008). Victim Participation in Proceedings before the International Criminal Court. Human Rights
Brief, 15(3), 2-5. Publication. Retrieved December 05, 2010:
www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/15/3mckay.pdf?rd=1
35 Werner, A. & Rudy, D. (2010). Civil Party Representation at the ECCC: Sounding the Retreat in International
Criminal Law? Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, 8 (3), 301-309.
The ECCC’s Challenges
Two major issues seem to summarize the court’s
challenging task:
The first is the necessity of applying international
standards of law, resulting in an independent,
fair and internationally recognized process. In the
long-term, this is intended to have positive
repercussions on the Cambodian legal system.31
The second is to address the victims’ wishes,
hopes and needs. The key tasks here are to
respond adequately to the victims’ demands for
justice and to manage their expectations
concerning the trials.32
2.3 Victim Participation
Civil Parties
In the somewhat short history of war crimes
tribunals the lack of victim participation arises as
an essential flaw of the first ad hoc war crimes
tribunals, like the ICTY or the ICTR.33
The International Criminal Court (ICC) already
strengthened the role of victims by
implementing victim participation.
While in former tribunals victims could only be
called by the court to testify as witnesses,
according to Article 68(3) of the Rome Statute,
the ICC allows victims to pursue their own
interests by communicating their views and
concerns at any stage of the proceeding.34 The
ECCC takes this a step further by allowing victims
to participate actively in the court proceedings
for the first time as Civil Parties. Internationally
the ECCC has attracted growing interest because
it represents the first practical implementation of
victims in the proceedings that goes beyond the
role of a mere witness.35
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In common law there are only two parties before
the court: the defense and the prosecution.
A Civil Party is basically a third party before the
court and has the same status as the other two
parties.
This allows active participation on an equal level,
which includes, for example, the right to examine
witnesses, mediated by their lawyer, the right to
be present in the courtroom during the whole
trial and to have access to internal documents.36
Civil Parties have the following rights according
to the Internal Rules (6th revision) of the ECCC.37
“Participate in criminal proceedings
against those responsible for crimes
within the jurisdiction of the ECCC by
supporting the prosecution”
“Seek collective and moral reparations”
Therefore, Civil Parties can actively participate in
a criminal case that goes before the court and
within that case they can seek reparations, which
according to the ECCC cannot be of an individual
or monetary character.
In addition to that the ECCC also offers active
victim participation in the run-up to trials.
As a complainant a victim files a complaint form
and sends it to the court in which information
about experiences related to crimes that might
be part of the court’s mandate are laid down. The
complaint will be included in the court’s
investigations and becomes part of the extensive
documentation of the events under the Khmer
Rouge regime created by the court’s work.
Information from complaint forms can lead to a
trial in which Civil Parties have the right to
participate and demand reparations.
The basis for this system lies in Cambodia’s
history as a French protectorate between 1864
and 1953 meaning that the organization of its
law is essentially influenced by French civil law.38
By nature this kind of legal system allows for
more direct participation of victims in a criminal
case. Common law systems, like that of the
United States, differentiate between criminal and
civil trials, whereby victims can only seek
compensation in a civil trial.
A civil law system, however, allows the victim to
participate actively in the criminal trial not only
as a witness, but with extensive procedural
rights, and to seek reparations at the same
time.39
36 Ntoko Ngome, E. (1995). The Civil Party in Criminal Trials: a comparative study-guide to the criminal procedure
harmonization process in Cameroon. Published Master thesis. Retrieved November 16, 2010:
http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=22701&local_base=GEN01-MCG02
37 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23.
38 Herman, J. (2010). Reaching for Justice: The Participation of Victims at the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia. Centre on Human Rights in Conflict Policy Paper No. 5.
39 Ntoko Ngome, E. (1995). The Civil Party in Criminal Trials: a comparative study-guide to the criminal procedure
harmonization process in Cameroon. Published Master thesis.
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40 Herman, J. (2010). Reaching for Justice: The Participation of Victims at the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia. Centre on Human Rights in Conflict Policy Paper No. 5.
41 Practice Direction on Victim Participation, February 2007 and Internal Rules, June 12, 2007, Rule 23; for the
application form see: Practice Direction on Victim Participation (Rev. 1), October 27, 2008:
http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/cabinet/courtDoc/160/PD_Victims_Participation_rev1_En.pdf
42 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23.
The ECCC is able to adopt these facets, because
unlike other tribunals, such as the ICTY, ICTR or
the current Special Tribunal on Lebanon, the
ECCC is located in the affected country itself and
implemented within the Cambodian legal
system.
Basing a tribunal like the ECCC on civil law must
be considered a precedent in international law
and it created a number of difficulties that had to
be addressed by the court in the course of the
first trial.
For example:
Civil Parties appeared before the court in
four groups, each having two lawyers.
Due to the presence of these eight
lawyers, a restriction of the time each
Civil Party lawyer was allocated to
examine a witness was introduced. One
reason was to guarantee the
establishment of a process that was not
overly protracted.
The court limited the right of
participation in the case by Civil Parties
to proving guilt and receiving
reparations and excluded them from
examining character witnesses who
might have an influence on the final
sentence. This lead to an éclat and the
Civil Parties refused to participate in the
further hearings of character witnesses.40
Civil Party Applications
In February 2007 a Practice Direction was issued
that specified the proceedings for Civil Party
participation and introduced the necessary
application form.41 As described above, the
status of a Civil Party requires that there are
actual charges against a person in a specific
criminal case. That means a victim has to know
the name of the perpetrator and which crime
that person is charged with. Only with this
knowledge is it possible to submit the
application form. After that the applications have
to be admitted by the Co-Investigating Judges
according to the following criteria.42
Applicants must “be clearly identified”
They must “demonstrate as a direct
consequence of at least one of the crimes
alleged against the Charged Person, that
he or she has in fact suffered physical,
material or psychological injury upon
which a claim of collective and moral
reparations might be based”
Hence, the application form asks for personal
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43 Herman, J. (2010). Reaching for Justice: The Participation of Victims at the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia. Centre on Human Rights in Conflict Policy Paper No. 5.
44 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23.
45 KAING Guek Eav alias Duch, Judgment, July 26, 2010.
46 Closing Order in Case 002, September 15, 2010.
47 Ibid.
information and for a detailed description of
experiences, including evidence of physical,
material or psychological injury. Furthermore it is
necessary that these events are directly related to
the accused and the specific crimes alleged
against them. As soon as the names of
perpetrators were submitted by the Co-
Prosecution to the trial chamber, Civil Party
applications could be submitted.
Due to the need for essential information and
difficulties with the rather complicated
application form—many victims are old people,
unused to official and especially court
documents and possibly illiterate—outreach
became indispensable. Under the umbrella of
the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee
(CHRAC) a number of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) offered assistance to help
victims to file their applications. Usually these
applications were first sent to CHRAC to be
screened for missing information. Then they
were forwarded to the Victim Support Section
(formerly Victims’ Unit) of the ECCC.43 The Victim
Support Section hands Civil Party applications to
the Co-Investigating Judges, while complaints go
to the Co-Prosecutors.
After recent changes in the internal rules of the
court, any decisions relating to failed or accepted
Civil Party applications have to be made by the
Co-Investigating Judges before they announce
their closing order, which in turn sends the case
to the trial chamber, where the actual hearings
take place.
After that the applicants have to be informed
about the success or otherwise of their
application.44 This is done by the respective
NGOs, the Victim Support Section itself or the
lawyers. A personal lawyer is obligatory for each
Civil Party applicant, in order to appeal in the
case of a denied application, for example.
While Case 001 had the rather manageable total
of 93 participating Civil Parties,45 in Case 002 the
Co-Investigating Judges had to process about
3,988 applications. Of those, 2,123 were accepted
and will participate as Civil Parties before the
court. This number may however change in the
light of appeals.46 A denied application is
automatically treated as a complaint. Many
applications were inadmissible because the sole
presence of physical, material or psychological
injury is not sufficient for Civil Party application
approval. This harm must be “related to the
factual circumstances set out in the Introductory
and Supplementary Submission.” 47
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48 Herman, J. (2010). Reaching for Justice: The Participation of Victims at the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia. Centre on Human Rights in Conflict Policy Paper No. 5.
49 Internal Rules
(
Rev.6
),
Se
p
tember 17
,
2010
,
Rule 23.
The ECCC had only five defendants when
applications became possible and until now
there are no additional names issued. In each of
the cases (Case 001 and 002) there is a selection
of crimes and geographical “crime scenes” that
were chosen to be part of the trial. Therefore, an
applicant will not be accepted if he does not
relate to these specific crimes and “crime scenes”
— even if the respective person presented
sufficient information in the application form.
Outreach
Due to initial underfunding, the Victims’ Unit
could not ensure the necessary outreach
activities to inform victims about their right to
participate and to offer them help with the
application form.48 Non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) filled this gap. Among
them the following four organizations started to
collect Civil Party applicants and made legal
assistance available to them:
Cambodian Human Rights and
Development Organization (ADHOC)
Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID)
Center for Social Development (CSD)
Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-
CAM)
The result of this was that the Civil Parties in Case
001 later appeared in four groups before the
court.
Outreach activities usually serve the purpose of
informing people and building capacity. In the
early stages of the ECCC, related procedures also
included the contacting of possible applicants or
complainants, the provision of application forms
and assistance with filling them in and
submitting them. The ongoing outreach requires
regular updates and training for Civil Parties,
especially those who will speak before the court.
The Cambodian context gives rise to a number of
difficulties here due to a lack of infrastructure in
rural areas and insufficient financial resources to
ensure the necessary number of staff needed to
stay in close contact with the applicants.
Civil Party Representation
In the 6th revision of the Internal Rules from
September 17, 2010 the court introduced an
extensive restructuring of Civil Party
participation.49
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50 Herman, J. (2010). Reaching for Justice: The Participation of Victims at the Extraordinary Chambers in the
Courts of Cambodia. Centre on Human Rights in Conflict Policy Paper No. 5.
51 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23.
52 KAING Guek Eav alias Duch, Judgment, July 26, 2010.
From the trial stage on and beyond, Civil Parties
will now be represented by two Civil Party Lead
Co-Lawyers (one national and one international).
The Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers have to:
Balance “the right of all parties and the
need for an expeditious trial within the
unique ECCC context”
Work with the Civil Party lawyers “to
reach consensus in order to coordinate
representation of Civil Parties at trial”
Therefore, in the upcoming Case 002 Civil Parties
will be represented in one consolidated group,
which can be seen as a consequence of the
above-mentioned fragmentation in Civil Party
representation and the extensive number of
applications.50
Reparations
The ECCC is the first internationalized tribunal
with a specific reparations mandate. However
these are restricted to Civil Parties. Therefore the
chance of receiving reparations might be a big
motivator for victims to file an application. Even
though the ECCC adopted this element of civil
law, it is important to note that reparations are
limited to those with collective and moral
characteristics. Reparations can only be awarded
in the case of a conviction and they must:
“Acknowledge the harm suffered by Civil
Parties as a result of the commission of
the crimes for which an Accused is
convicted”
“Provide benefits to the Civil Parties
which address this harm”
Furthermore it is stressed that “these benefits
shall not take the form of monetary payments to
Civil Parties.” 51
Reparations can only be granted if they are
related to an injury that was caused by the
specific crime(s) a perpetrator is convicted of.
They must further provide benefits for the Civil
Parties that are of a moral and collective nature,
which specifically excludes monetary
compensation for individuals and includes
instead symbolic compensation for the group of
Civil Parties as a whole.
For Case 001 the Civil Parties requested a
number of reparations that were presented in a
joint submission from September, 2009.52
These included:
“The compilation and dissemination of
statements of apology made by KAING
Guek Eav throughout the trial
acknowledging the suffering of victims
[…]”
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53 KAING Guek Eav alias Duch, Judgment, July 26, 2010.
54 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23
55 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23
“Access to free medical care (both
physical and psychological), including
free transportation to and from medical
facilities”
“Funding of educational programs which
inform Cambodians of the crimes
committed under the Khmer Rouge
regime and at S-21 in particular”
“Erection of memorials and pagoda
fences at S-21 (Choeung Ek and Prey Sar)
as well as in the local communities of the
Civil Parties”
“Inclusion of the names of the Civil
Parties in Case 001 in the final judgment,
along with a description of their
connection to S-21”
Each civil party group also submitted further
claims for reparations.
In the final judgment only the publication of
apologies made by the convicted during the trial
and the inclusion of all civil parties in the
judgment were granted. All other claims were
rejected, because, among other reasons, they
were considered out of the court’s scope, not
specific enough, or as referring directly or
indirectly to monetary compensations.53
In preparation for Case 002, new regulations
were included in the Internal Rules that stated:
“Reparations shall be requested in a single
submission “[…] by the consolidated group of
Civil Parties and submitted by the Civil Party Lead
Co-Lawyers.” Practically, this means that Civil
Parties cannot demand reparations as an
individual any more, but have to find a joint
solution for their claims before they submit them
to the court.
One decisive limitation of the possible scope a
reparation could have was “that the costs of the
award shall be borne by the convicted
person”54—that is, the perpetrator would have
to pay for it. However the accused do not
generally have substantial enough assets that
could be used to fund larger reparation projects,
therefore the court opened up a way to access
external funding in the form of a new regulation.
It can now “recognize that a specific project
appropriately gives effect to the award sought by
the Lead Co-Lawyers and may be implemented.
Such projects shall have been designed or
identified in cooperation with the Victim Support
Section and have secured sufficient external
funding.“ 55
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This makes so called non-legal measures possible
that can be developed in cooperation with the
Victim Support Section and get the official
recognition of the court, but then be placed, for
example, in the hands of a state-sponsored
program that can be supported by international
donations.56
56 Sperfeldt, C. (2009). Reparations for Victims of the Khmer Rouge [Electronic Version]. Oxford
Transitional Justice Research Working Paper Series. Retrieved November 10, 2010, from
http://www.csls.ox.ac.uk/documents/SperfeldtFinal.pdf
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3. Study with Direct Survivors (2008/2009)
3.1 Methodology
Sample Distribution
A total number of N=1077 respondents were interviewed in 19 provinces of Cambodia as illustrated in the
chart below.
Table 1: Participants in each province (%)
Kandal 23.2
Phnom Penh 17.4
Takéo 7.2
Kampot 6.3
Kampong Speu 5.1
Svay Rieng 4.2
Battambang 4.0
Kampong Cham 4.9
Pursat 3.5
Siem Reap 3.0
Stung Treng 3.0
Sihanoukville 3.0
Ratanakiri 2.9
Koh Kong 2.9
Kampong Thom 2.7
Kampong Chhnang 2.6
Kratié 2.6
Bantey Meanchey 1.5
Pailin 0.9
Of all participants 23 percent (n=247) applied to become Civil Parties in one or both cases before the ECCC.
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Interviewers
The interviews were conducted by Cambodian interviewers holding a BA in Psychology. Prior to the start
of the first survey, the interviewers participated in a two-weeks training seminar on psychological
consequences of war and trauma, diagnostics of relevant psychological disorders, interviewing techniques
as well as on the background of the ECCC and the Khmer Rouge regime.
During the training the application of the questionnaires was taught and relevant concepts and content of
the applied questionnaires were discussed and adapted if necessary. During the survey the interviewers
were supervised by two experienced psychologists.
Procedure
The recruitment of participants followed a two-fold methodology:
First Civil Party applicants were contacted with the help of the Cambodian Human Rights and
Development Association (Adhoc) and asked to participate in the survey. All Civil Party applicants had
been contacted by Adhoc in their initial stage of outreach activities and had already submitted a
complaint form to the ECCC. This means that all Civil Party applicants who participated in this survey were
among the first victims to apply to the court.
The rest of the participants were recruited using a convenience sampling approach.
Of those n=120 were conducted in villages in which our partner organization Transcultural Psychosocial
Organisation (TPO Cambodia) was working, as well as in TPO Cambodia’s outpatient clinic in Phnom Penh.
The remaining participants were recruited in different villages in Cambodia that were visited in order to
conduct these interviews.
All possible participants had to be born before 1975 and consider themselves victims of the Khmer Rouge
regime. No other exclusion criteria was applied.
Among all contacted victims who were asked to participate, 820 people refused the interview. In addition,
in five cases the interview could not be completed due to language difficulties, lack of time or the level of
stress caused to the interviewee. Those five participants were excluded from data analysis.
The participants were interviewed in structured face-to-face interviews in the Khmer language between
October 3, 2008 and May 22, 2009.
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57 Pham, P., Vinck, P., Balthazard, M., Hean, S. & Stover, E. (2009). So we will never forget. A population
based Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts
of Cambodia.
Prior to any interview, participants were informed about the following points and had to give their
informed consent:
The completely voluntary nature of the interview
The duration and the topics of the interview
The right to refuse to answer any question as well as to end the interview at any time
The principles of confidentiality and anonymity
Interviewers were instructed to ensure that an appropriate place for the interview was found that provided
the necessary privacy. No financial compensation was given to the respondents for their participation in
the survey. However, at the end of each interview, a small present consisting of a piece of soap and a
“krama” (a traditional Cambodian scarf) was given, which the respondent was not told about preceding
the interview.
The average amount of time spent on an interview was one and a half hours.
3.2 Measures
The measures presented were developed in our working group.
All items were translated from English into Khmer by Cambodian psychologists and were subsequently re-
translated back into English by interpreters who were unfamiliar with the original English versions to verify
how well the translations corresponded with the original text.
In addition four questions on attitudes towards reparations developed by Pham et al. (2009) were
included.57
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3.3 Results
Data Analysis and Presentation
The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0.
The results in this chapter are generally presented in a divided way, showing the percentage in the group
of Civil Party applicants (n=247; referred to as “Civil Party applicants”) and the group of respondents who
have not participated in the ECCC (n=830; referred to as “no participation in ECCC”). These two groups are
often presented in comparison to the whole sample (N=1,077, referred to as “total”).
Where only a single or a separate total score is reported it always refers to the percentage in the combined
group of applicants and not-participants (N=1,077).
Sociodemographics
On average participants were 56.2 years old, ranging from 35 to 98 years of age. 61.7 percent of our
sample was female. Two thirds of the participants were married and about one third were widowed. About
89 percent were ethnic Khmer and 92 percent said their religious faith was Buddhism. The participants
spent on average four years in school. About 38 percent stated that they were able to read and write, while
about 31 percent stated that they were illiterate.
Table 2: Sociodemographics
Sample size (n) % Female Mean age
(S.D.)
Marital status
married widowed divorced single other
1077 61.7 56.2 (10.2) 66.2 27.9 2.8 1.6 1.5
Age distribution (%) Education
35–44
years
45–54
years
55–64
years
> 65
years
Mean education in
years (S.D.)
literacy (%)
yes a little no
13.6 31.3 32.3 22.8 3.9 (3.6) 38.3 30.5 31.2
Ethnicity (%)
Religious faith (%)
Khmer Cham Chinese other Buddhist Islam Christian other
89.1 4.5 1.7 4.7 92.2 5.8 1.7 0.3
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Traumatic Events
Exposure to traumatic events was widespread under the Khmer Rouge regime. The reported traumatic
events were either experienced or witnessed by the participants. The presented data shows the lifetime
events of the sample and therefore includes events that happened before and after the rule of the Khmer
Rouge regime. Most of the events, however, were reported as happening almost exclusively under the
Khmer Rouge regime.
Nearly every participant witnessed or experienced a lack of food and more than 92 percent were forced to
work or saw this happening to others. At least three thirds reported witnessing or enduring forced
separations from family members, deportations and combat situations.
However the latter might include the events of the Vietnam War, which took place before 1975, or during
the internal political struggles that followed the collapse of the regime.
Forced marriages by the Angkar—a term referring to the leadership of the Communist Party of
Kampuchea—were seemingly common, given that almost half of the respondents indicated that they had
at least witnessed it. Altogether 15.1 percent of the participants reported that they themselves were forced
to marry by the Angkar. As many of the respondents were already married during the time of the regime,
or too young to get married, this number is fairly high. Surprisingly, of the participants who experienced
an attempt to force them into marriage, 45.7 percent said they could refuse to do so (data not shown).
Also often reported was the abduction of people in order to execute them. About 44 percent witnessed
this happening to a stranger and nearly one third saw their family members being sent to their deaths.
Percentages for all experienced or witnessed traumatic events as reported by the participants are shown in
the table below.
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2.6%
2.7%
8.4%
13.6%
20.3%
26.5%
30.8%
32.4%
32.8%
37.1%
38.7%
39.1%
39.5%
44.3%
47.4%
48.1%
51.4%
51.6%
53.7%
58%
63.1%
63.4%
64.8%
69.1%
74%
76.2%
79.7%
92.1%
95%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Sexual contact younger 18
Sexual assault by family member
Sexual assault by a stranger
Non-sexual assault by family member
Torture
Unnatural death of family or friend
Abducted to kill family member
Murder of family or friend
Imprisonment
Lost, kidnapped or hauled off
Non-sexual assault by a stranger
Natural Disaster
Murder of stranger or strangers
Abducted to kill stranger
Forced marriage by Angkar
Serious injury
Died of hunger
Threat of violence or death
Saw killed person(s)
Ill health without access to medical care
Lack of shelter
Brainwashing
Serious accident, fire, explosion
Life-threatening illness
Combat situation
Deportation/Forced Displacement
Forced separation from family members
Forced Labour
Lack of food or water
Figure 1: Traumatic Events (experienced and witnessed) as reported by the participants
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49.0
16.7 25.5
8.8
50.2
17.4 23.9
8.5
45.1
14.2
30.9
9.8
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all rather not rather yes totally
Figure 2: Fear of the former Khmer Rouge as perceived by the respondents
Total No participation in ECCC Civil Party applicants
Do you still fear the former Khmer Rouge? (%)
Attitudes towards the Former Khmer Rouge
The results shown above provide a picture of severe and sometimes prolonged suffering in a majority of
the participants. It can be assumed that this still affects their views of the former Khmer Rouge and their
willingness to reconcile, forgive or to take revenge instead. Here, it also should be pointed out that in
Cambodia many victims and perpetrators are still living together in the same villages.
Asked whether the participants still perceive there to be a conflict between former Khmer Rouge and non-
Khmer Rouge, the majority denied that this was the case. Civil Party applicants said “no” in 92.1 percent
and not-applicants in 90.0 percent of the cases (data not shown).
The majority of the respondents stated that they do not still fear the Khmer Rouge. Civil Party applicants
showed a slightly higher level of fear as still being present.
Almost one fifth of the respondents agreed “totally” when they were asked about having feelings of
revenge, another fifth stated that they had feelings of revenge towards the former Khmer Rouge “to a
large extent.”
Civil Party applicants report much higher feelings of revenge compared to those who did not apply to the
ECCC. This is underpinned by the findings of Field and Chhim58 who were able to show that victims who
were interested in participating in the tribunal had stronger feelings of revenge towards the perpetrators.
58 Field, N. & Chhim, S. (2008). Desire for revenge and attitudes toward the Khmer Rouge tribunal among
Cambodians. J Loss Trauma. 13(4), 352-372.
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34.0
10.8 14.8 21.3 19.2
38.7
11.3 16.0 19.0 14.9
18.2
8.9 10.5
28.7 33.6
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all rather not in part to a large extent totally
Figure 3: Feelings of revenge as indicated by the participants
Total No participation in ECCC Civil Party applicants
45.5
17.0 21.8
11.6
4.0
42.3
16.2
23.8
12.9
4.8
56.3
19.8 15.4
7.3 1.2
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all rather not in part to a large extent totally
Figure 4: Forgiveness as expressed by the respondents
Total No participation in ECCC Civil Party applicants
Do you have feelings of revenge towards the former Khmer Rouge? (%)
Did you forgive the former Khmer Rouge? (%)
Consistent with findings shown above, almost half of the respondents reported that they had “not at all”
forgiven the Khmer Rouge, while only 16% indicated they had done so “to a large extent” or “totally.” Civil
Party applicants considered themselves on average less ready to forgive the former Khmer Rouge, with
only 1.2% (3 in 247 respondents) answering that they had forgiven them “totally.”
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47.9
13.2
22.5
13.2
3.2
47.1
12.3
23.0
14.2
3.4
50.6
16.2 20.6
9.7 2.8
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all rather not in part to a large extent totally
Figure 5: Readiness to reconcile as expressed by the respondents
Total No participation in ECCC Civil Party applicants
Are you ready to reconcile with the former Khmer Rouge? (%)
Similar findings were obtained when the respondents were asked about their readiness to reconcile.
About one half stated that they were “not at all” ready and more than one fifth said that they were “in part”
ready to reconcile with the former Khmer Rouge, while only 13 percent were ready “to a large extent” and
3 percent “totally” ready to reconcile.
The figures below indicate that Civil Party applicants tend to be slightly less ready to reconcile, which is
hardly surprising given their higher tendency for feelings of revenge and their lower willingness to forgive.
Given this rather low inner preparedness for reconciliation it might be instructive to ask what actually has
happened in this context during the past 30 years. More than two thirds of the participants stated that
reconciliation between Khmer Rouge and non-Khmer Rouge had occurred “not at all” in their village. It is
worth noting here that applicants and non-applicants do not differ to any great extent in their assessment
of previous reconciliation processes.
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70.7
8.7 7.4 9.7
3.5
71.3
8.3 7.3 9.3 3.9
68.8
10.1 7.7 11.3
2.0
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all rather not in part to a large extend totally
Figure 6: Occured reconciliation as perceived by the participants
Total No participation in ECCC Civil Party applicants
Do you think that reconciliation has occurred in your village? (%)
Up until this point the results show a lack of perceived reconciliation processes in communities together
with a low readiness to reconcile and relatively common feelings of revenge especially in the subgroup of
our sample that were Civil Party applicants.
Attitudes towards the ECCC
Considering the findings described above, there seems to be a need for measures to promote
reconciliation in Cambodian society. The ECCC was designed to promote not only justice but to contribute
to reconciliation in the Cambodian society as well.
Asked whether participants assume that the ECCC will contribute to reconciliation in Cambodia, more than
half of the participants agreed and one third expected the ECCC to contribute at least “in part” to
reconciliation. Thus, the answers of about four out of five participants indicate that there is an expectation
that the ECCC will facilitate reconciliation in Cambodia.
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53.9
30.6
12.8
2.7
52.7
30.1
14.2
3.0
57.9
32.4
8.1 1.6
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
yes in part no I don´t know
Figure 7: Contribution to reconciliation by the ECCC as assessed by respondents
Total No participation in ECCC Civil Party applicants
Do you think the ECCC will contribute to reconciliation in Cambodia? (%)
Information dissemination, outreach activities and the recruitment of witnesses as well as civil
participants are among the ECCC´s crucial tasks in meeting these expectations. To begin with it is
therefore important to inform people about the mere existence of the tribunal. As described
above, informing possible victims about the ECCC was the first step in the outreach activities of
NGOs. Of those respondents who were not contacted via an organization doing outreach
(n=873), 84.7 percent said they knew about the existence of the Khmer Rouge tribunal. The
remaining 15.3 percent had never heard about the ECCC before they were interviewed for this
survey (data not shown).
Respondents were also asked whether they appreciated the Khmer Rouge tribunal. The majority
agreed: 92.1 percent answered “yes” and 2.8 percent answered yes but added that it took too
long until the court had finally been established (data not shown).
Civil Party applicants were also asked in an open question why they personally decided to submit
the application form. Bringing justice was the most frequent answer, followed by revenge—a
reason that made every third applicant submit the form. Reparations and feelings of duty
regarding relatives were mentioned less often. Figure 8 presents only the 6 most frequently
indicated reasons.
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8.9
10.5
12.1
12.1
15.4
31.6
42.6
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
other
find out the truth
own coping
duty regarding relatives
reparations
revenge
bring justice
Figure 8: Reasons for the application as a Civil Party
Why did you decide to submit the application form? (% of cases)
Attitudes towards reparations59
Reparations for the victims were considered to be important by most of the respondents. Civil
Party applicants demanded this significantly more often in comparison to non applicants.
Asked who should provide the reparations, about 60% said the perpetrators should pay for them.
About half of the participants indicated that these reparations should be given to communities,
but more than one third responded that they should go to individuals.
Most of the respondents wanted individual monetary compensations. Collective compensations
like social services or infrastructure improvements were requested less. Only a small number of
participants wanted reparations that fall into the category of moral compensations, such as
ceremonies for victims or apologies by the perpetrators. However, ceremonies were claimed
noticeably more often by Civil Party applicants compared to victims who do not participate in the
ECCC.
59 Results are already published in: Stammel, N., Bockers, E., Taing, S. & Knaevelsrud, C. (2010). The
Survivors’ Needs: Opinions on Reparations for Victims of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia.
Traumatic Stress Points, 24 (6), 7-9.
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Table 3: Opinions on reparations mentioned by respondents
Total No CPA CPA
Is it important to provide reparations to the victims of the Khmer Rouge
regime? (% yes)
80.0
78.0
86.6
Should the reparations be provided to
individuals or communities or both?
Individuals (%) 35.3 34.1 38.9
Communities (%) 51.2 53.2 45.2
Both (%) 13.5 12.7 15.9
Who should pay to provide the
reparations to the victims?
Perpetrators (%) 60.8 60.8 60.6
Community (%) 1.2 1.5 -
Government (%) 20.8 22.9 14.4
International Community (%) 11.0 8.9 17.4
Other (%) 6.3 5.8 7.6
CPA = Civil Party applicants
Table 4: Types of reparations claimed by respondents
Total (%) No CPA (%) CPA (%)
Individual monetary compensation 36.8 39.1 30.3
Social services (health services, education) 15.2 13.7 19.5
Ceremony for dead or living victims 9.2 6.7 16.0
Infrastructure 9.1 8.4 11.3
Housing, land 8.5 9.2 6.5
Economic development, business enhancement programs 6.9 7.5 5.2
Livestock, food, agricultural equipment 3.7 4.1 2.6
Statue, museum, memorial 3.1 2.8 4.3
Apology from the perpetrators 2.9 3.7 0.9
Pagoda, mosque 1.5 1.4 1.7
Justice 0.8 1.1 -
Day of commemoration, historical records 0.3 0.2 0.4
Other 1.9 2.1 1.3
CPA = Civil Party applicants
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3.4 Limitations
There are some limitations to the results of the survey that have to be indicated.
First, the sampling procedure did not follow a randomized approach and the findings can therefore not be
generalized to the population of Cambodia. Furthermore, as participants were chosen by asking villagers
for their participation it is possible that those survivors included in the sample were mainly those who
were interested in the topic and felt ready to talk about their experiences.
Another issue appears when ideas and meanings are translated from English into the Khmer language.
Both languages differ to some extent from each other. To address this problem an extensive translation
and discussion process was carried out in order to finalize the questionnaire, including retranslation back
into English and a detailed discussion with local experts on the meanings of the terms used in the survey.
Due to the interviewing period from October 2008 to May 2009 the Civil Party applicants in this survey are
among the first survivors in Cambodia who had the chance to submit an application to the ECCC. The
whole procedure as well as outreach activities by NGOs were still new and underwent further
development building on the first experiences. Therefore the data in this survey might not represent the
Civil Party applicants that applied later and received adapted outreach.
Finally, the process against Kaing Guek-Eav, alias Duch, started during the period of data collection on
February 17, 2009. It is possible that respondents who were informed about the trial could have been
influenced in their attitudes to the ECCC and the former perpetrators by this event.
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4. Study with Civil Party Applicants (2010)
4.1 Methodology
Sample Distribution
A total number of N=226 Civil Party applicants were interviewed in 15 provinces of Cambodia as illustrated
in the chart below. Some of them had already been informed about the rejection or approval of their Civil
Party applications at the ECCC. As described in chapter 3, all participants in this survey were among the
first victims who applied as Civil Party to the ECCC.
Table 5: Participants in each province (%)
Kampot 24.3
Svay Rieng 17.7
Kampong Speu 10.6
Stung Treng 8.4
Kampong Cham 7.1
Takèo 6.6
Koh Kong 5.8
Sihanoukville 4.9
Ratanakiri 3.5
Kampong Chhnang 3.5
Kratie 2.7
Phnom Penh 1.8
Kandal 1.3
Pailin 1.3
Siem Reap 0.4
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Interviewers
The interviews were conducted by Cambodian psychological interviewers. Half of them had already
participated in the 2008/2009 survey. The interviewers were trained in a two-week seminar. Relevant
psychological concepts related to war, trauma and mental health consequences were introduced.
Contents and concepts of the questionnaires were discussed and adapted if necessary. In practical training
sessions interviewers were taught how to administrate the questionnaires.
Procedure
All participants that are included in the second survey are Civil Party applicants, who had already been
interviewed once in 2008 or 2009. They were contacted again in order to ask them to participate in the
second survey.
Of all participants in the first survey, 12 persons could not be found again, 5 refused to participate, while 2
interviews could not be conducted due to age-related health problems. Sadly, two former participants had
died in the intervening period. In total, of 247 Civil Party applicants from the first survey, 226 could be re-
interviewed for the second survey.
The participants were interviewed in structured face-to-face interviews in the Khmer language between
November 2, 2010 and December 10, 2010.
Prior to any interview, participants were informed about the following points and had to give their
informed consent:
The complete voluntary nature of the interview
The duration and the topics of the interview
The right to refuse to answer any question as well as to end the interview at any time
The principles of confidentiality and anonymity
After the interview each participant received a small gift in the form of a mosquito net.
The average amount of time spent on an interview was one and a half hours.
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4.2 Measures
The measures presented were developed in the bzfo-working group in cooperation with TPO Cambodia.
Some measures were taken from the first survey. Several trial variables (satisfaction with the sentence,
emotional reaction to the court decision, impacts of the trial on the participant’s life) are an expanded
adaptation of a questionnaire originally developed by Orth & Maercker.60 Four items on the perception of
Duch’s apology and forgiveness were adapted from items originally developed by Allan and colleagues.61
All items were adapted to the Cambodian context.
All new items were translated from English into Khmer by Cambodian psychologists and were
subsequently re-translated back into English by interpreters who were unfamiliar with the original English
versions to verify how well the translations corresponded with the original text.
4.3 Results
Data Analysis and Presentation
The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0.
Findings are usually presented for the whole group of N=226 Civil Party applicants.
Some questions allowed multiple responses (marked in the title of the figure as “% of cases”), the
respective graphs therefore show the percentage of people who gave each answer.
If questions were asked in both surveys a comparison between the first (2008/2009) and the second (2010)
assessment is shown.
60 Orth, U. & Maercker, A. (2004). Do Trials of Perpetrators Retraumatize Crime Victims? Journal of
Interpersonal Violence, 19(2), 212-227.
61 Allan, A., Allan, M.M., Kaminer, D. & Stein, D.J. (2006). Exploration of the Association between Apology
and Forgiveness amongst Victims of Human Rights Violations. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 24, 87-102
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Sociodemographics
Sociodemographics of the N=226 Civil Party applicants in this survey are presented from the first survey in
2008/09. The respondents were on average 1.7 years older.
Table 6: Sociodemographics
Sample Size
(n)
% Female Mean Age
(S.D.)
Marital Status
married widowed divorced single other
226 70.4% 58.5 (9.7) 56.2 36.7 2.2 2.7 2.2
Age distribution (%) Education
35-44
years
45-54
years
55-64
years
> 65
years
Mean education in
years (S.D.)
literacy (%)
yes a little no
8.0 27.1 36.9 28.0 3.8 (3.8) 40.4 24.4 35.1
Ethnicity (%) Religious Faith (%)
Khmer Cham Chinese other Buddhist Islam Christian other
77.9 13.3 0.9 8.8 79.2 18.1 2.2 0.4
Reactions and effects within the families of Civil Party applicants
All participants had filed an application for Civil Party status prior to the first survey in 2008/2009.
The Civil Party applicants in this sample said, in over 75 percent of the cases, that all of their immediate
family members were informed about their application. Only 5 percent did not inform anyone in their
family.
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Of those who informed their family members (n=214) very few respondents reported negative reactions
from their family members when they informed them. More than half of them said that the reaction was
positive and in the remaining cases the reactions were neither positive, nor negative. Furthermore family
members seem to be an important source of social support and encouragement in relation to the
application. 40 percent felt supported by their family members “very much” regarding their application to
the ECCC. Another 37 percent said that they felt supported “quite a bit”, 10 percent perceived their family’s
support as only existing “a little bit” or “not at all”.
77.4
17.3
5.3
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
all of them some of them no one
Figure 9: Family members' knowledge about the application as indicated by the participants
27.4 27.4
40.9
3.3 0.9
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
very positively positively neither
positively, nor
negatively
negatively very negatively
Figure 10: Family members' reaction towards the application as indicated by the participants
Do your immediate family members know that you applied to become a civil party to the ECCC? (%)
How did they react when they heard that you applied to become a Civil Party to the ECCC? (%)
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The impact that an application or the participation of the applicant with the ECCC had on their families
was generally positive, respectively neither positive, nor negative. All in all only five percent indicated a
negative impact.
39.1 37.2
14.0 8.8
0.9
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
very much quite a bit neither
supported, nor
unsupported
a little bit not at all
Figure 11: Feeling of support by family members as indicated by the participants
Did you feel supported by your family regarding your application as Civil Party to the ECCC? (%)
17.7
31.0
46.5
1.8 3.1
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
a very positive
impact
a positive
impact
neither a
negative, nor a
positive
impact
a negative
impact
a very negative
impact
Figure 12: Impact of application/participation on the family as indicated by the participants
What impact has your application/participation at the ECCC on your family? (%)
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Support by Lawyers
Applicants for Civil Party status not only need support from their families, but also legal assistance. “From
the issuance of the Closing Order onwards, in order to participate in proceedings, Civil Parties shall at all
times be represented by a Civil Party lawyer” (p. 23)62. From the moment that applicants become accepted
Civil Parties they also necessarily must have a lawyer.
They also play an important role prior to the Closing Order by meeting and interviewing clients and giving
legal advice in relation to the applications. Moreover, only with the assistance of a lawyer do appeals
against a rejection become possible. In this sample, 61.1 percent (n=138) of the Civil Party applicants knew
who their lawyer was (data not shown). The following results that are shown in figure 13 and 14 refer only
to these participants.
The contact with their lawyer was in 84.1 percent of cases a direct meeting and in 20.3 percent of cases
done over the phone (data not shown). Almost every respondent who knew their lawyer had had direct or
indirect contact at the time of the interview at least once. More than 60 percent said that they had had
contact with their lawyers several times.
Most of the participants who indicated to know their lawyer were substantially satisfied with their lawyers.
Only six participants were “neither satisfied, nor unsatisfied,” everyone else was at least “satisfied”, if not
“very satisfied”.
3.6
32.6 23.2 21.7 18.9
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
never once twice three times more than
three times
Figure 13: Frequency of lawyer consultation as reported by the respondents
How often did you consult your lawyer, either by phone or by direct contact? (%)
62 Internal Rules (Rev.6), September 17, 2010, Rule 23.
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Knowledge about the Civil Party Application
At the time of the second interview, on average1.7 years after the first one, about half of the respondents
did not know which trial case(s) they had originally applied for. Looking only at the subsample of already
informed Civil Party applicants (n=113), about one third (28.3%) still did not know which case they had
been approved or denied for (data not shown).
With the Closing Order in Case 002 from September 15, 2010 the first decision about the acceptance or
rejection of applications was issued.
However, because rejected applicants could submit an appeal against this decision within ten days and via
their lawyers, those who did so were still waiting for the final outcome in their cases at the time of the
interview.
Nevertheless, exactly half of the participants had already received information about the final decision of
their application (data not shown).
The main sources of information regarding their applications were NGO staff (in 37.2% of the cases), local
Civil Party representatives—that function as key figures in NGO community networks— (32.7% of the
cases) and lawyers (24.8% of the cases). Other sources were reported by 7.1 percent, multiple answers
were possible (data not shown). Commonly respondents were informed in person — reported by 82.3
percent — and in 17.7 percent by telephone. Letters, informing participants about their applications were
received by 7.1 percent of them (data not shown).
0.0 0.0 4.4
40.9
54.7
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
very
unsatisfied
unsatisfied neither
satisfied, nor
unsatisfied
satisfied very satisfied
Figure 14: Satisfaction with the lawyer as reported by the respondents
How satisfied are you with your lawyer? (%)
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Perception of the Duch Trial
Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch was the first perpetrator being sentenced by the ECCC. Trial hearings started on
March 30, 2009 and the judgment was handed down on July 26, 2010. 79.2 percent of the Civil Party
applicants included in this survey said that they followed the proceedings at the ECCC (data not shown).
Among those who indicated to follow the proceedings, most frequently mentioned sources of information
were media, especially TV which was used by about two thirds of the respondents and radio (42% of
cases). Further sources were outreach activities like meetings organized by NGOs and of civil participation,
such as being invited to visit ECCC hearings in person (18.9% of cases).
43.1 percent of the respondents had already visited the court in Phnom Penh (data not shown).
Among all participants 41.2 percent said they knew what sentence was given to Duch (data not shown).
These people were then asked to indicate the exact number of years that Duch still had to serve in prison
after the verdict.
63.9
42.2
18.9 13.3 9.4 7.8 5.0 7.2
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
TV Radio Visit hearings NGO
meetings
Newspaper Contact with
other
applicants
Contact with
lawyers
Other
Figure 15: Sources of information about the trial as indicated by the respondents
How did you follow the proceedings at the ECCC? (% of cases)
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The official prison term, as it was issued in the judgment, was 35 years, though it was cut down for two
main reasons laid down in the further explanatory statement of the judgment: Firstly the court decided to
suspend five years, because Duch was held in illegal military detention prior to his transfer into ECCC
custody. Secondly Duch had already spent 11 years in prison when a sentence was finally handed down,
these years count as part of the prison term and are therefore deemed to have already been served. This
means Duch has 19 years left to serve, which was defined as the correct answer to the above question. In
cases in which a participant answered 35 years more, their answer was interpreted as an indicator that the
part suspension was unknown to them.
The answers of those who indicated to know the sentence (n=93) are distributed around the relevant years
19 (34.4%) and 35 (23.3%), indicating that the respondents had a certain knowledge about the judgment.
More than 50 percent said that Duch was either sentenced to 19 or 35 years. Of those who stated to know
the prison term, about one third actually knew the correct prison term of 19 more years that Duch still has
to serve in prison. This shows, on the one hand, that a considerable number of applicants was well
informed about the judgment, but might on the other hand be an indicator that the verdict was observed
more broadly than it was understood in detail. Three participants excluded in these figures said they were
sure that Duch received a life-long sentence. For the total sample this means that 13.7 percent knew the
correct prison term (data not shown).
6.7 5.6
34.4
3.3
11.1
23.3
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
3 5 6 10 15 16 17 18 19 20 25 26 30 35 40 50 60
Figure 16: Prison term of Duch according to the respondents knowledge
How many more years does Duch have to serve in prison? (%)
years
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Every respondent who followed the proceedings but indicated that they did not know the sentence given
to Duch was informed by the interviewer about the judgment. This was done by reading a standardized
text that included the above-mentioned aspects that led to the actual prison term (informed group). If the
interviewees thought that they knew the correct term, but gave an incorrect answer, no further
information was provided (not-informed group).
Generally more than 60 percent were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” about the judgment, 10 percent said
they were “neither satisfied, nor unsatisfied” while about one in four were “unsatisfied” or “very
unsatisfied.”
A comparison between the group of respondents who gave the number according to their own
knowledge (not-informed group) and the group of people who were informed during the interview
(informed group) was run. The group that was informed by the standardized text tended to be
“unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” less often than the other group —16.7 percent compared with 36.6
percent – and were also more often “satisfied” or “very satisfied” — 69.7 percent compared with 56
percent.
13.8 11.1 11.1
38.7
25.3
7.6 9.1
13.6
43.2
26.5
22.6
14.0
7.5
32.3
23.7
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
Very unsatisfied Unsatisfied Neither satisfied,
nor unsatisfied
Satisfied Very satisfied
Figure 17: Satisfaction with the sentence against Duch as reported by the participants
Total Informed group Not informed group
How satisfied are you with the sentence against Duch? (%)
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It was further investigated how the verdict was perceived by the Civil Party applicants. 36.7 percent said it
was “neither lenient, nor severe”, 16.9 percent considered it “lenient”, 17.8 percent “very lenient” and the
rest were of the opinion that it was “severe” (20.9%) or “very severe” (7.6%)(data not shown).
The rather large middle group that considered the sentence not lenient, but also not severe, together with
the above-mentioned generally high satisfaction with the judgment might indicate that the prison term is
considered appropriate by many Civil Party applicants in this survey.
Emotional reactions about the sentence of Duch were often reported as being positive by the participants,
like satisfaction, relief and pride. Negative emotional reactions, like anger or disappointment were
reported less often.
In order to find out what sentence the participants would consider appropriate they were asked to say
how many more years Duch should have been sentenced, according to their own sense of justice. The
answers show a threefold pattern: about 20 percent chose a prison term around the 19 years that Duch
actually has to serve; another fourth thought he should get a term closer to the uncut sentence of 35 years
— though they more often mentioned 30 years; a third group supported a higher sentence of 40 years or
more.
14.7
5.8
5.8
54.0
59.8
25.3
30.7
25.3
17.0
16.5
36.0
44.9
44.4
20.1
14.3
24.0
18.7
24.4
8.9
9.4
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Satisfaction
Relief
Pride
Anger
Disappointment
Figure 18: Emotional reactions about the sentence as experienced by the respondents
Not at all A little bit Quite a bit Very much
What did you feel when you heard that Duch was sentenced to serve 19 more years in prison? (%)
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A remarkable 39 respondents (excluded in these figures) refused to give a number and said they wanted
to see Duch in jail for the rest of his life.
With Duch the ECCC brought the individual Khmer Rouge perpetrator to the attention of the broader
public. The participants were therefore asked about their current perception of Duch.
Almost half of the survey sample agreed that “Duch has genuinely asked for forgiveness”. About one in
three disagreed strongly with this statement though. The same distribution was also found for the
questions of whether they think that “Duch was truly sorry for what he did under the Khmer Rouge
regime.”
Participants agreed more often with statements that said “Duch made an excuse for what he did” and
“Duch has admitted his guilt”.
3.8
11.3 10.2
17.2
9.7
12.9
7.5
3.2
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
0
3
5
6
7
8
10
15
18
19
20
24
25
30
32
35
39
40
45
49
50
60
69
70
79
80
99
100
Figure 19: Prison term of Duch that the participants wish for
To how many more years in jail should Duch have been sentenced? (%)
years
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Perception of the ECCC and related activities
90 percent of all participants said that, with the knowledge they had today, they would apply again as a
Civil Party — 84.1 percent said “definitely yes” and 5.8 percent said “rather yes” (data not shown). However,
almost half of the respondents are concerned at least “a little bit” about their personal safety as a result of
their application.
16.3
29.2
28.1
11.2
8.4
21.3
19.1
20.8
53.9
38.2
41.0
33.1
21.3
11.2
11.8
34.8
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
has admitted his guilt
genuinely asked for forgiveness
was truly sorry for what he did
made an excuse for what he did
Figure 20: Perception of Duch today as reported by the participants
I strongly disagree I disagree I agree I strongly agree
46.0
3.1 4.0
29.6
17.3
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not concerned
at all
a little bit
unconcerned
neither
concerned, nor
unconcerned
a little bit
concerned
very
concerned
Figure 20: Concerns about their personal safety as stated by the participants
What do you think about Duch today? Duch … (%)
Are you concerned about your personal safety as a result of your application as a
Civil Party to the ECCC? (%)
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63 Pham, P., Vinck, P., Balthazard, M., Hean, S. & Stover, E. (2009). So we will never forget. A population based
Survey on Attitudes about Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Publication. Retrieved November 16, 2010: http://hrc.berkeley.edu/pdfs/So-We-Will-Never-Forget.pdf
Actual negative experiences were reported only by a handful of people. 97.3 percent said that they never
experienced any problems, regarding their personal security, as a result of their activities related to the
ECCC. 96.9 percent also said that they did not experience any other problems related to the ECCC (data not
shown).
One third said that they believed the court acted “totally” independently from political influence. 10
percent said they did not believe so at all and 18 percent believed in the courts independence only “a little
bit”. Though 33 percent believed in the total absence of political influence — which is a very positive result
in the Cambodian context, which is often characterized by mistrust of the courts63— the remaining
respondents indicated that they did not believe in the complete independence of the court.
Readiness for reconciliation
Two thirds thought that the ECCC will contribute to reconciliation in Cambodia and almost all remaining
respondents thought it will contribute at least “in part”. The same question was asked to the participants
in the first survey in 2008/09.
The number of people who said it would not contribute was a little bit higher in the first survey compared
to the second.
9.6
18.3
39.4 32.6
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all a little bit quite a bit totally
Figure 21: Opinion on political influence as stated by the respondents
Do you believe the court acts independently from political influence? (%)
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Reactions to the Duch trial might have played a role here. Participants were asked what kind of impact the
process of the trial had on their readiness to reconcile with the perpetrators.
48 percent said the trial had “a positive impact on their readiness to reconcile” while 14 percent said it had
“a negative impact” and 38 percent saw “neither a negative, nor a positive impact”.
61.0
34.8
4.3
58.8
32.9
8.2
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
yes in part no
Figure 22: Opinions on the ECCCs contribution to reconciliation as indicated by the participants
2010 2008/2009
14.0
37.6
48.4
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
a negative
impact
neither a
negative, nor a
positive impact
a positive
impact
Figure 23: The trials impact on readiness to reconcile as stated by the respondents
Do you think the ECCC will contribute to reconciliation in Cambodia? (%)
What impact has the trial against Duch on your readiness to reconcile with the perpetrators? (%)
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Still, 39 percent said that they were not ready to reconcile “at all” when they were asked directly. Only 8
percent were “totally” ready to reconcile, but 18 percent answered that they were ready “to a large extent.”
It is noteworthy here that the readiness to reconcile has increased in the sample since the first survey in
2008/2009. The comparison shows that in the quite short period between the two surveys a considerable
progress towards more readiness to reconciliation has occurred — a period that comprised most of the
court’s first public trial.
Participants were also asked whether there was anything that they perceived as being stressful in regard
to their activities related to the ECCC. 66.4 percent said that there was nothing that they perceived as
being stressful (data not shown). 14.6 percent of the participants, however were bothered by the long
period of time that the tribunal had already taken. They often expressed concern that the perpetrators
might die before they had been judged. Only a few respondents were concerned that the trial would not
bring justice (4.0%) or mentioned that it brought up memories of painful events (2.2%) (data not shown).
Furthermore respondents were asked for any suggestions that they might give to make participating at
the ECCC easier for them. 14.0 percent said that the court should work faster and sentence the
perpetrators sooner. Seven percent wanted to be invited to the ECCC and another about 4 percent also
asked for money to pay for the travelling to and accommodation in Phnom Penh. Money, food and access
to health care were requested by six percent and four percent also said that reparations would help them.
50.6
16.2 20.6
9.7
2.8
39.4
22.1
12.4 17.7
8.4
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
not at all rather not in part to a large extent totally
Figure 24: Readiness to reconcile as indicated by the respondents
2008/2009 2010
Are you ready to reconcile with the former Khmer Rouge? (%)
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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39.4
2.2
4.0
4.4
4.4
4.8
5.7
6.2
7.0
13.7
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
nothing
do outreach in my village
reparations
let me join the hearings every time
give money for travelling
deliver more information
support the victims (money, food, health care)
bring justice
invite survivors to visit the ECCC
do not take too much time
Figure 25: Suggestions made by the respondents to make their participation easier
Some participants wished for more information (5%), outreach activities close to their homes (2%) and said
that they wanted to take part in court hearings on a daily basis (4%). However almost 40 percent said there
was nothing that could make participating in the ECCC easier for them.
Resources
Participation in the ECCC can also be a chance for victims to discuss their experiences, but it may also
cause them to remember painful events from their past. Therefore, participants were asked about
resources they are able to use in their daily lives in order to cope with stressful memories and thoughts.
The participants in this sample were asked in an open question about whom they approach when they
think too much about their experiences under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Most of the participants reported that they talked to family members, followed by other Khmer Rouge
survivors. Professionals or local authorities were only mentioned marginally by the participants. 15
percent of the sample reported that they talked to no one.
What would you suggest to make participation in the ECCC easier for you? (% of cases)
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1.8
4.9
11.5
15.0
59.7
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
personal place of remembrance
neighbors' house
pagoda
into the nature
none
Figure 27: Places mentioned by the participants
2.7
4.9
7.1
11.1
14.2
45.6
70.4
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
local authority
NGO community worker
neighbor
new generation
to no one
other Khmer Rouge survivors
family members
Figure 26: Approached persons as indicated by the participants
While the majority of the sample (59.7%) reported that there was no special place they go to when they
think too much about their experiences, some participants reported that they went to the pagoda, into the
nature or to their neighbor’s house.
When you think too much about the experiences you went through in Khmer Rouge time,
are there any special places in or near your community you are going to? (% of cases)
When you think too much about your experiences in Khmer Rouge time, to whom do you
talk to? (% of cases)
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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9.1
9.1
15.2
18.2
36.4
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
don´t remember
Elder
TPO
Psychiatrist
NGO community worker
Figure 28: Sources of professional mental health support as reported by the
participants
When the participants were asked about the people they talk to about their stressful experiences under
the Khmer Rouge regime, many replied that they talk to family members or to other survivors. About 5
percent also mentioned NGO community workers who may also offer mental health support.
When the participants were asked whether they seek help from professional mental health providers, 85.4
percent answered no. Though this is the clear majority it also means that about 15% (n=33) try to get help
from professional mental health providers (data not shown).
Civil Party applicants in this survey reported that they got mental health support from a number of
different providers. Of those who reported to seek mental health support, 36 percent went to NGO
community workers. Elders were mentioned by three people as a source for mental health assistance.
In the next six questions, the participants were directly asked how often they approach different providers
of psychosocial support when they feel stressed because of their experiences under the Khmer Rouge
regime. The most frequently consulted group of people here were other Khmer Rouge survivors followed
by NGO community workers, local authorities and then monks. Health volunteers, nurses and traditional
healers were mentioned less often. Compared to other possible providers of psychosocial support, the
participants indicated to that they talked to other Khmer Rouge survivors relatively often when feeling
stressed because of their experiences.
From which mental health provider do you seek support when you feel stressed due to your
experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime? (% of cases)
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While only 13 percent reported that they “never” talked to other survivors, at least half of the sample
reported that they talked to them “sometimes” and 36 percent that they did so “often”.
In Summary, when the Civil Party applicants in this survey think too much about their hurtful experiences
under the Khmer Rouge regime they often talk to family members or other survivors, but only some have a
place to go and few seek help from mental health providers.
Beyond that, participants were also asked whether they think that certain activities help to release their
suffering from their Khmer Rouge experiences.
The Buddhist tradition of conducting ceremonies to worship the spirits of the dead was considered by
most of the participants a helpful ritual to cope with their own suffering. Three out of four Civil Party
applicants indicated that ceremonies would help them “quite a bit” or “very much.”
2.2
2.2
2.2
4.9
5.8
6.6
36.3
27.9
19.1
22.6
28.8
20.9
27.9
49.6
69.9
78.7
74.8
65.9
72.9
65.5
12.8
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
village health
volunteers
traditional healers
nurses in community
health centre
a local authority
monks
NGO community
workers
other Khmer Rouge
survivors
Figure 29: Frequency of respondents talking with possible mental health providers
every time often sometimes never
How often do you talk to … when you feel stressed due to your experiences in
Khmer Rouge time? (%)
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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The opinions on whether talking to former Khmer Rouge would make one feel better about one’s
experiences were very heterogeneously distributed among the sample of Civil Party applicants. While 40
percent thought this could help them “quite a bit” orvery much,” 60 percent indicated that this could
only help “a little bit” or “not at all.”
The majority of participants (69 %) considered the documentation of their experiences under the Khmer
Rouge regime as being “quite a bit” or “very helpful” in dealing with their own suffering. Only a few
respondents (6%) thought that the documentation could not help them at all to cope with their
experiences. A large majority would like to have these documents be open to the public (89%), while only
11 percent don’t want to have them published (data not shown).
The majority of the participants (” to deal with their own suffering. Only a few respondents (6%) thought
that the documentation could not help them at all to cope with their experiences.
22.6
9.3
23.0
50.0
29.2
45.6
22.6
31.0
25.2
4.9
30.5
6.2
0 20406080100
conduct ceremonies
talk to former Khmer Rouge
document experiences
Figure 30: Opinions on possible measures to deal with own suffering as evaluated by
the repondents
Very much Quite a bit A little bit Not at all
To what extend could it help you to … in order to deal with your painful past? (%)
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
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Limitations of the Survey
Also in the follow-up survey it is important to note that the participants belong to the first group of
survivors that applied as Civil Parties. Therefore it is not possible to generalize the findings. The results
might be different in other groups of Civil Party applicants that joined outreach activities by Adhoc and
further organizations at a later point in time.
Respondents—especially direct survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime—often belong to a generation of
Cambodians that lacks basic education. Illiteracy is widespread—about two thirds of the participants in
this survey indicated that they can only read or write a little bit—and many are not familiar with judicial
terms or the law. Furthermore, survivors are often now old, which comes with its own health-related
problems. In particular cases these factors can affect the respondents’ ability to hear or understand
questions. Interviewers were trained to monitor the participants understanding and repeat questions
where necessary.
The survey was conducted shortly after the Closing Order in Case 002 was issued and some applicants had
already received the information about their acceptance or rejection. However, the process of informing
all Civil Party applicants will likely take until the beginning of 2011. This means that not all participants had
received notice of their status at the time of the interview. It is possible that an acceptance or a rejection
shortly before the interview could have affected the way that people perceived the ECCC. Additionally, the
other group of participants who had not yet been informed might be influenced in their answers by the
long period that they had waited since submitting their application.
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5. Discussion
Attitudes on the ECCC
Shortly after the invasion of Cambodia in 1979 a
brief tribunal was held by the Vietnamese
occupying government. Pol Pot and other
leaders were sentenced in absentia. Following
this judgment there was no more effort to hold
the perpetrators of the Khmer Rouge regime
accountable. Victims faced what is often called a
culture of impunity—the former Prime Minister
of Democratic Kampuchea Ieng Sary was even
granted an amnesty. Now he is to be held to
account before the ECCC in what could be
perceived as long awaited justice by the
survivors.
Outreach activities aimed at informing people
throughout the country about the existence of
the ECCC have ensured that it is embedded in
the conscience of the Cambodian population.
Also those who were not directly involved in
outreach activities were found to know about the
court in about 85 percent of cases.
In the first survey conducted in 2008/2009 the
overwhelming majority of participants indicated
that they appreciated having a Khmer Rouge
tribunal. Only a very small number said they
appreciated it, but that it was too late.
In about 90 percent of cases participants said
that they do not think that there was still a
conflict between Khmer Rouge and non-Khmer
Rouge. However, fear of the former Khmer Rouge
was still common among one third of the
participants.
As discussed later, almost no Civil Party applicant
faced a problem in relation to their application to
the ECCC. The apparent lack of negative
experiences could be an element that has built
trust up over time and which has allowed people
to consider the ECCC as being something worth
pursuing, despite their concerns. Trust was also
shown in relation to the potential fear of political
interference in the ECCC, a topic that has
accompanied the court from the first conceptual
negotiations to the present uncertainties related
to those investigations that might lead to further
cases in the future.
Asked whether the Civil Party applicants believed
that the court acted independent of political
influence, about three quarters believed so
“quite a bit” or “totally.
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64Field, N. & Chhim, S. (2008). Desire for revenge and attitudes toward the Khmer Rouge tribunal among
Cambodians. J Loss Trauma. 13(4), 352-372.
One of the intentions behind the establishment
of the ECCC in Cambodia itself was without
question to help develop the national judicial
system and a key element of this has to be the
building up of trust. The positive reputation of
the ECCC is an especially promising signal in
relation to this. This also often goes hand-in-
hand with high expectations.
Respondents often took part in the court
proceedings in order to seek justice and they
appreciated its existence. However a
considerable number of respondents are
bothered by the length of time that the
proceedings are taking and fear that the
perpetrators may die before they are sentenced.
In summary, we found a high level of
appreciation for the ECCC in survivors of the
Khmer Rouge regime. Additionally Civil Party
applicants did not report negative consequences
in relation to their applications to the ECCC.
Furthermore we did not find that Civil Party
applicants in this survey were unsatisfied with
the court’s work or that they mistrusted the
court. This is also supported by the respondents’
attitudes towards the Duch trial.
What Motivated Survivors to Join the ECCC?
All in all almost half of the respondents felt
concerned about their personal safety to a
certain degree as a result of their Civil Party
application to the ECCC. There were two main
reasons that made them apply as Civil Parties,
even though they expressed that they had felt
considerable fear. The most frequently
mentioned reasons for participating in the ECCC,
in this survey, were to seek justice and to take
revenge for what happened to them under the
Khmer Rouge regime.
Therefore, a desire for revenge towards the
former Khmer Rouge is still prevalent and it was
reported especially often by those who applied
as Civil Parties. Also Civil Party applicants
reported that they had forgiven the former
Khmer Rouge less often than survivors who did
not apply to the ECCC. Every third applicant in
this survey said that they wanted to join in order
to take revenge. This tallies with findings by Field
and Chhim who found that survivors of the
Khmer Rouge regime who were willing to attend
or testify at the ECCC had a stronger desire for
revenge towards the perpetrators.64
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65 Official ECCC news from July 22, 2009: http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/news.view.aspx?doc_id=299
Civil Party Applicant Participation at the ECCC
As stated above, the wish to have justice done
and the desire to take revenge for what
happened under the Khmer Rouge regime were
mentioned as the main reasons for applying to
the ECCC by the Civil Party applicants.
Four out of five Civil Party applicants interviewed
indicated that they followed the proceedings at
the ECCC. At that point, these proceedings had
comprised most of the trial against Kang Guek
Eav, alias Duch. The hearings in this, “Case 001”,
were held between March 2009 and the end of
July 2010. For most of our participants media
broadcasts were the main source of information
about the trial proceedings. Furthermore, a
considerable number (about 19%) reported that
they had already visited trial hearings at the
court in Phnom Penh.
Regular visits to the trial hearings are likely to be
rare due to the expense of travelling to and
staying in Phnom Penh. Some of the Civil Party
applicants interviewed asked for transportation
to the ECCC and for monetary support to pay for
travelling and accommodation in order to stay in
Phnom Penh and attend the hearings. This
underlines our findings that the applicants in this
survey tend to be interested in the ECCC and
want to seize the unique opportunity of seeing
the court in action with their own eyes.
An official news broadcast issued by the ECCC on
July 22, 2010 deals with this form of victim
participation. It said that up until that point
12,000 visitors had already attended hearings in
Case 001 and it stressed that free bus
transportation could be provided for
attendees.65
When asked what they perceived to be stressful,
regarding their activities in relation to the ECCC,
more than 66 percent said that there was
nothing they perceived as stressful. The only
other single answer that was given by a large
number of the Civil Party applicants in this
sample (nearly 15%) was that the ECCC is taking
too much time and about the same number of
people suggested that proceedings be sped up.
Respondents were asked in an open question if
there was anything they would suggest to make
their participation in the ECCC easier for them.
Commonly here the answer was also “nothing.”
Thus it seems that the Civil Party applicants have
no recommendations to improve the
proceedings, which could mean that they are
satisfied.
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66 Practice Direction on Victim Participation (Rev. 1), October 27, 2008
In regards to perceived contact with lawyers, we
found that those who knew their lawyers (61%)
were found to be especially satisfied with them.
Contact with the lawyers happened in most
cases several times—in about 80 percent of the
cases more than once—and usually represented
a direct meeting. Not a single participant
indicated that they were unsatisfied, while more
than half of the respondents indicated that they
were “very satisfied” with their lawyers.
Support was not only received by lawyers—Civil
Party applicants in this survey also found support
within their families. Three out of four
interviewees felt supported by their families
regarding their Civil Party applications to the
ECCC.
Correspondingly, immediate family members
had been informed about the application by
most of the applicants.
The families’ reactions when they heard about
the application were usually reported as being
positive by the Civil Party applicants. Neutral
reactions were also often reported, but negative
responses failed to materialize.
Asked about what impact their participation in
the ECCC had had on their families so far, about
half of the respondents said it was neither
negative, nor positive while the other half
considered it to have had a positive impact.
Our findings so far indicate that the respondents
tend to be interested in the court and that they
are satisfactorily supported by lawyers and family
members.
When asked about which cases the Civil Party
applicants had applied for, almost half of the
sample answered that they did not know which
case it was. Even among the already informed
Civil Parties, this rate was still as high as one
third.
In the original form that had to be submitted to
the court, every applicant is asked to: “Please
indicate the proceedings to which you wish to be
joined.”66 The only options were to indicate Case
001, Case 002 or both.
A possible explanation for this problem is that
the said participants did not fill in the application
form by themselves. This is likely due to the
complex nature of the form, which contains
several judicial terms and asks for detailed
descriptions of alleged crimes, as well as the high
rate of illiterate people in our sample. Often NGO
outreach-staff gathered the necessary
information in interviews with the applicants and
filled out the application forms with them.
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The long period of time between the application
and the interview might also lead to the fact that
the participant cannot remember which case
they applied for, especially if that person did not
follow the trial and was not contacted again.
Finally, when the participants were asked
whether, with the knowledge they had today,
they would apply again as a Civil Party, 85
percent said yes.
Our findings indicate that Civil Party applicants
were all in all satisfied with their participation at
the ECCC and the way they were supported by
lawyers, NGOs and their own families. An
improvement suggested by the respondents,
was greater support for realizing visits to the
ECCC and for following the hearings. Despite the
high satisfaction with the court and its support
network, our findings also show that there is a
lack of information or deeper understanding of
the procedures of the ECCC for many
participants.
Readiness for Reconciliation
Although it is important to fight against the
culture of impunity, the ECCC is only responsible
for those who could be defined as being most
responsible. In reality in Cambodia many still face
the difficult situation that former perpetrators
live among them in their villages and even hold
positions of power. The number of those that can
be referred to as “former Khmer Rouge” is
theoretically very high.
Based on this, forgiveness and reconciliation
seem to be essential for the Cambodian society
in order to move to a situation in which victims
no longer fear former perpetrators.
More than half of the respondents in the first
survey were not ready to reconcile with the
former Khmer Rouge—about two thirds of the
participants considered themselves to be “not at
all” or “rather not” ready to reconcile. Civil Party
applicants were even less ready for
reconciliation. About the same amount of
participants stated that reconciliation had
occurred “not at all” in their villages yet.
However many believed that the ECCC would
contribute to reconciliation (53.9%)—among
Civil Party applicants the number was even
higher (58.1%). The follow-up survey showed an
interesting development in relation to
reconciliation. Compared to the percentages
from 2008/2009, in 2010 the number of Civil
Parties who thought the ECCC would contribute
to reconciliation rose slightly and was now at
almost 60 percent. Including those who said the
ECCC would contribute in parts to reconciliation
the percentage rose to 95 percent in 2010
compared to 90 percent at the time of the first
survey. It could be assumed that the Duch trial
probably had an impact on the above-
mentioned findings on reconciliation.
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Nearly half of the sample of Civil Party applicants
indicated that the trial had a positive impact on
their readiness to reconcile. Civil Party applicants
were asked again about their personal readiness
to reconcile. The comparison with findings from
the first survey, held about two years earlier,
revealed that the level of self-reported readiness
to reconcile had increased.
Compared to the 51 percent who said they were
“not at all” ready to reconcile in 2008/2009, only
39.4 percent said the same in the second survey,
while the number who said “to a large extent”
nearly doubled (from 9.3% to 17.7%) and the
percentage that indicated “totally” was three
times higher than before.
Knowledge and Opinions on the Duch Trial
As shown above, a clear majority of the Civil
Party applicants in this sample indicated that
they followed the proceedings at the ECCC.
However, it is not clear how often the
participants consulted the different sources of
information, therefore it is difficult to say how
comprehensively they were able to follow the
trial. This might be one way of explaining why
about 80 percent indicated that they followed
the trial, but only about 40 percent said that they
knew the sentence against Duch and of those
only about 30 percent could give the correct
number of years that Duch still has to serve in
prison.
The results show that the knowledge and
understanding of the trial is not distributed
equally in the sample of Civil Party applicants
interviewed in this survey. While 60 percent did
not know the sentence against Duch. A
considerable number of the remaining
respondents had very detailed knowledge about
the trial and did therefore know that the final
judgment had been cut to 19 years (34.4%).
Many also answered that Duch still has to serve
35 years in prison (23.3%), indicating that this
element of the judgment was not understood by
many participants. The remaining participants
had in fact declared that they knew what the
sentence was, but gave the wrong number of
years. It therefore seems that the trial was
observed on a broad basis, but only a small
group of respondents showed a deeper
understanding of the proceedings.
A number of reasons for this are possible. Firstly
the infrastructure in Cambodia’s rural areas is
poorly developed, therefore not everyone has
access to basic media, like TV or radio. Secondly
people with little money tend to be more
involved in securing basic needs for their families
and one could imagine that following the ECCC
would be less of a priority for them. Thirdly the
way information is presented might be too
complicated for some people, especially for
those who are too old and have no educational
background.
And finally, due to the fact that many
participants complained that the court
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67Sonis, J., Gibson, J. L., de Jong, J. T., Field, N. P., Hean, S., & Komproe, I. (2009). Probable
posttraumatic stress disorder and disability in Cambodia: associations with perceived justice, desire for
revenge, and attitudes toward the Khmer Rouge trials. JAMA, 302(5), 527-536.
68de Jong, J. T., Komproe, I. H., Van Ommeren, M., El Masri, M., Araya, M. & Khaled, N. (2001).
Lifetime events and posttraumatic stress disorder in 4 postconflict settings. JAMA, 286(5), 555-562.
proceedings took too much time (14.6%), it is
possible that some people lost interest over the
course of the process and stopped following the
proceedings.
The outcome of Case 001 was generally seen
positively. Two out of three participants were
satisfied with the sentence (64% were either
“satisfied” or “very satisfied”). A large group of
people also considered the judgment as being
neither lenient, nor severe (36.9%), which might
be an indicator that it was perceived as fair or
appropriate.
About one quarter of the respondents were not
satisfied with the sentence (24.9% were
“unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied”) and about 18
percent also said it was too lenient. The
satisfaction might be influenced by the
expectations people had in terms of the
sentence—for some the mere existence of a
judgment might already have been satisfying,
while others wished for a more severe judgment.
The interviewed Civil Party applicants were asked
about their preferred sentence according to their
own sense of justice, which might give a sense of
what they expected. The data shows that most
people would have set a higher sentence, a
considerable number far beyond 35 years and up
to a true life-sentence, therefore expectations in
relation to Duch’s sentence were probably high.
It seems that some of the respondents who
indicated that they were satisfied still think that
Duch should have been sentenced to more years
in jail.
A possible explanation for this might be that
these persons understood the sentence on a
factual level, but did not accept it emotionally.
Among the immediate emotional reactions were
also anger and disappointment, though the
majority did not report these feelings. About one
third was “quite a bit” angry or even very angry
and one fourth was disappointed “quite a bit” or
“very much.” Positive reactions, however, were
much more common.
Sources of Psychosocial Support
Survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime are likely to
be witnesses or victims of traumatic events.
Among the most frequently reported Khmer
Rouge-related experiences in this survey were
lack of food or water, forced labor and
deportation/forced displacement. Several studies
in the past have suggested that Cambodians
have high rates of trauma-related mental health
disorders.67,68
Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims
The Survivors‘ Voices
68
In the context of the ECCC, the suffering of
victims and their horrific stories catch one’s
attention and also raise questions about
treatment and support, especially in terms of the
possibility of reparations intended to be a
compensation for damages suffered.
Civil Party applicants in this survey were asked
about their main sources of help when they
become overwhelmed by their painful pasts.
They reported that they almost exclusively talk to
family members and other Khmer Rouge
survivors.
The family plays an important role in Cambodian
society; due to a lack of social services family
members have to rely on each other when they
need help. Three quarters of the respondents felt
supported by their family members regarding