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[Report] Mass Victims Litigation Practices: Suggestions For Victims' Participation at the ECCC From Japanese Experiences in Mass Plaintiff Cases

Human Rights Now has reiterated the importance of victims' participation in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for serious crimes, in the perspectives of peace building and national conciliation.


The ECCC approved systems of victims' participation which HRN proposed and is in the process to develop the system and the practice of victims' participation.


HRN published a proposal, including a report regarding Japanese experience in mass plaintiff cases which was made for the purpose of reference.


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For the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), Human Rights Now (HRN) already issued "Justice for Victims - Fundamental issues for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia" on September 13th, 20061 and called on the ECCC and those concerned to confirm the fundamental principles of victims' rights, including the right of access to justice through participation in the legal process and a right to reparations.

Subsequently, the ECCC adopted its Internal Rules in June 2007,2 incorporating processes for victims' participation as Civil Parties and the system of reparations, as well as the provisions for the establishment of a Victims Unit, all of which were recommended in our paper above.

Now, we see that victims have actually begun to participate in the ECCC process and that the Victims Unit has initiated its operations. We emphasize again the importance of victims' voices and the recognition of victims' rights as fundamental for improved administration of the ECCC and ultimately for Cambodia as a whole in the process of national reconciliation.

At the same time, concerns have been expressed that the participation of too many victims might delay or disrupt the proceedings.

Certainly, the establishment of efficient systems for the participation of mass numbers of victims is among the crucial factors for the success of this tribunal. This report is prepared with the hope of contributing to addressing at least some of these concerns about the participation of large numbers of victims in the ECCC. Introduced here are practical experiences of mass-injury litigation in Japan, which were established in the 1970s and have evolved since.