Confronting Duch: civil party participation in Case 001 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is unique because it is the first international criminal tribunal to allow victims of alleged crimes to act as civil parties at trial. This means that victims can have a role at the ECCC beyond being called as witnesses. After presenting the history of victim particiation in national and international war crimes trials, this article examines how civil party participation shaped the trial proceedings at the ECCC, and how the civil parties viewed their interactions with the court. It concludes by reflecting on the positive and negative aspects of civil party participation in the Duch trial, and what implications such participation may have for future trials at the ECCC and other international criminal courts.

About the authors

Eric Stover
Faculty Director

Eric Stover is Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. He was an Open Society Fellow in 2009–2010.

Mychelle Balthazard

Mychelle Balthazard is the Cambodia Coordinator for the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley and a PhD Candidate in International Development at the Payson Center of Tulane University.

K. Alexa Koenig

K. Alexa Koenig is a Researcher at the Human Rights Center and a PhD Candidate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.