(Feb. 2, 2008) The tribunal established to try Khmer Rouge leaders for their crimes in Cambodia has received more than 500 complaints by victims. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), established with the backing of the United Nations, is now in the process of reviewing and responding to them. Although the ECCC began to function in July 2006, most of the cases have come to the tribunal's attention since October 2007, through the efforts of organizations in the country that have been working to publicize the fact that people have the right to take part in the proceedings against the leaders who perpetrated mass killings and other serious violations of domestic and international law between April 1975 and January 1979.
The complaints will be reviewed by Co-Prosecutors, who will determine which should be further investigated. The ECCC will contact those who submitted complaints if there is key information missing, in order to try to complete the files; so far about a fifth of the complaints are lacking some key details.
Gabriela Gonzalez-Rivas, the Deputy Head of the Victims Unit, described the way the Cambodian tribunal is working as unique, saying "The ECCC is the first court in the history of international criminal law to offer victims full participation in the proceedings, and everyone at the Court is working hard to ensure that this participation is meaningful for them." (UN-Backed Tribunal Processing Over 500 Khmer Rouge Victims' Complaints, UNNEWS, Feb. 7, 2008, UNnews@un.org.)