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Trial Monitoring and Outreach at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

The WCSC is involved in a number of projects in Cambodia related to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The ECCC is a hybrid international criminal tribunal, established by treaty between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations. The ECCC is mandated to try senior leaders and those most responsible for atrocities committed in Cambodia between April 17, 1975 and January 6, 1979, when Cambodia was governed by the Khmer Rouge. The court was created in 2006 with statutory authority to try defendants for murder, religious persecution, and torture under Cambodian law, as well as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity under international law.

For a more comprehensive overview of the Extraordianry Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia ECCC

Building upon five years of experience monitoring in Sierra Leone, East Timor, and Indonesia, the War Crimes Studies Center, in collaboration with the East-West Center (as part of the Asian International Justice Initiative), has established a regionally-based trial monitoring program at the ECCC for the duration of the trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders. The program seeks to widen public awareness of the ECCC in Cambodia, in the region, and internationally, through the dissemination of weekly trial reports both describing and assessing the proceedings as they unfold. The program further endeavors to train young lawyers, by giving them the experience of engaging in monitoring and legal analysis at an international tribunal, under expert supervision. By drawing on a regional pool of talented young monitors, the program strives to develop a regional network of young human rights lawyers who are able to engage with justice processes and to assess the overall effectiveness of institutions such as the ECCC.

The WCSC and the East-West Center have also worked together to develop an outreach program for the Khmer Rouge trials that involves the production of a film series entitled “Time for Justice.” The films, produced by Khmer Mekong Films in Phnom Penh, are disseminated through regular television broadcast on the largest Cambodian TV network and through radio and community meetings. In the 18 months leading up to the first trial at the ECCC (which began March 30, 2009) this initiative produced 5 “pretrial” films to educate the Cambodian public as to the structure and mission of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC). Over the course of the Tribunal’s first trial in 2009, the initiative produced 22 weekly films (approximately 30 minutes each) for broadcast on CTN through a show called “Time for Justice: Duch on Trial.” These films have used a talk show format, with two well-known Cambodian journalists as moderators. “Duch on Trial” is broadcast on Monday at 1:15 pm, CTN’s second peak time slot with an estimated viewing audience of 1.5-2.5 million. CTN re-broadcasts the show on Tuesday afternoon. DVDs of the films are made available at no charge to NGOs, embassies, educational institutions, the ECCC, and other interested parties. They are also uploaded every Monday morning in a sub-titled version at the East-West Center website (www.eastwestcenter.org)