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Victims Support Section
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1- Introduction

One of the major innovations of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is the enhanced recognition of Victims in its proceedings. Victims of crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the Court are given a fundamental role in the ECCC. They can submit complaints to the Co-Prosecutors, who take the interests of Victims into account when considering whether to initiate an investigation or a prosecution. Victims may also participate as Civil Parties. In this capacity, they are recognised as parties to the proceedings and are allowed to claim collective and moral reparations. This reflects the commitment of the ECCC to its mandate of helping the Cambodian people in the pursuit of justice and national reconciliation, as stated in the Preamble to the Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea.

2. Overview

The Victims Support Section (VSS) was established to support the ECCC by assisting Victims who want to participate in the proceedings. The VSS is the central contact point between the ECCC and Victims or their representatives. The VSS aims to facilitate the effective participation of Victims in the proceedings. This consists of processing complaints and applications of Victims who seek to exercise their right to participate. It also oversees that Victims have access to legal representation of a high quality. To that end, the VSS also provides legal and administrative support to the Civil Party lawyers. Finally, the VSS serves as a meeting place where all the actors involved in the proceedings that is the Victims, the Court members, the lawyers and intermediary organisations can gather and thus share their views for the most efficient representation of the Victims’ interests.

3. Main Tasks

The VSS informs Victims about their rights relating to participation and reparations, and enables them to file complaints and Civil Party applications to the ECCC if they wish to do so (for details see Practice Direction on Victim Participation).
This entails the provision of assistance in obtaining legal advice or a lawyer, supporting legal representatives and facilitating the grouping and collective representation of Victims.
The VSS supports the work of the Co-Prosecutors and the Co-Investigating Judges by processing complaints and Civil Party applications and preparing reports for these offices.
It also maintains contact with Victims and their lawyers regarding the status of their complaints and applications, and keeps them updated regarding developments in individual cases.
The VSS ensures that the role of the section and the rights of Victims are explained in outreach events throughout Cambodia.

Lastly, the VSS ensures the safety and well-being of Victims who participate in the proceedings. This involves ensuring that Victims properly understand the risks sometimes inherent in such participation, as well as providing them with protective measures and other assistance, like psychosocial support.

 
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Today: 11 December 2017

Victims Support Section of the ECCC