An interesting twist in efforts to reveal truth about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia’s genocide:

“For the first time in history, the internal rules of a tribunal will give victims of crimes the possibility to participate as parties,” said Gabriela González Rivas, deputy head of the tribunal’s victims unit.

Victims have been included in other comparable tribunals, like the International Criminal Court, but their role has been more limited.

As civil parties, the victims here will have standing comparable to those of the accused, including rights to participate in the investigation, to be represented by a lawyer, to call witnesses and to question the accused at trial, according to a court statement.

“Participation in these types of proceedings is a tool of empowerment,” Ms. Rivas said. “People can tell their story, feel that what happened to them is a consideration, a recognizing that what happened to them shouldn’t have happened.”

The inclusion of victims is part of the evolution and refining of the mechanisms of international justice, said Diane Orentlicher, special counsel of the Open Society Justice Initiative, in a telephone interview from New York.

“There has been a growing recognition, after 15 years of international and hybrid courts like this one, not to exclude victims from the justice that is being dispensed on their behalf,” she said. The Cambodia tribunal has been accused of compromising international standards of justice with its awkward admixture of Cambodian law and its vulnerability to manipulation by the country’s strongman, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who exercises control over the Cambodian judiciary.

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