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Reparations pose a challenge for transitional justice mechanisms such as the ECCC. Questions such as what should be done, for whom, and where are difficult for both courts and policy-makers to answer. Interestingly, most respondents did not emphasize reparations or compensation when talking about the trials or obtaining justice for the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge. Nevertheless, the surveys have sought to understand what the population thinks should be done for victims of these crimes and their families.

The results show some changes over the period between the surveys. In 2008, Cambodians answered a general question about what should be done for victims with a call for individual reparations, specifically for livelihood and social support: 26% stated that support for agriculture and farming should be provided; 23% mentioned social services such as health care and counseling; and 22% mentioned financial support. In terms of more symbolic gestures, 17% asked that perpetrators be punished and others asked for apologies and acknowledgment of the suffering of victims (3%) and provision of justice (2%).

In 2010, justice, in the form of trials and punishment of the wrongdoers, became the second most frequent recommendation (31%). This is not to say that material and financial compensation were ignored: about one-third recommended social services, such as healthcare and education for victims and/or their families; one-quarter suggested monetary compensation and/or agricultural support: and 14% wanted the government to build infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, within affected communities.

Figure 16: Measures for Victims

Figure 16 - Measures for Victims

About 64% of the population believed the ECCC was doing enough for victims while 21% believed it was not. The remainder said they did not know enough to provide an opinion. It is also worth mentioning again that 91%of those who lived under the Khmer Rouge regime considered themselves to be victims compared to 53% of those who had not.

After asking respondents in general terms what should be done for victims, specific questions were asked about reparations. The Internal Rules of the ECCC note that reparation, if granted, will be collective, moral and non-financial in nature.[1] Reparations could include erecting statues, building memorials, renaming public facilities, establishing days of remembrance, expunging criminal records, exhuming bodies, issuing declarations of death, and conducting reburials. As was the case in 2008, most adults (91%) believed it was important to provide symbolic reparations to victims of the Khmer Rouge or their families. Fewer indicated that no reparations of any sort would be acceptable (20% in 2010, compared to 26% in 2008). Those who did not live under the Khmer Rouge were less likely to accept no reparations compared to those who lived under the KR.

The majority of the adult population (73%) further said that reparations should be provided to the community as a whole and about 19% believed they should be provided to both the community and individuals. Few respondents believed that reparations should be provided to individuals only (8% compared to 11%). Furthermore, those who lived under the Khmer Rouge regime were more likely to prefer community reparations than those who did not.

Table 8: Symbolic Reparations

Table 8 - Symbolic Reparations

While the 2008 and 2010 surveys show the importance of reparations, and specifically symbolic reparations, there was a marked shift in what such reparations should look like. Nearly one-half of the respondents suggested constructing a memorial (47%) in 2010 compared to10% in 2008. Having public events decreased as a possible measure, with 34% mentioning it in 2010 compared to 46% in 2008. The proportion of respondents that mentioned providing social services, such as health services, education, and psychological counseling, did not change significantly. Other measures mentioned in 2010 also include writing books and songs, and making movies as symbolic measures. Eight percent also mentioned building infrastructure and four percent mentioned economic measures. Most people see it as the responsibility of the government to support financially any reparation program (75%). Fewer also mentioned the Khmer Rouge leaders themselves (17%) and the international community (17%).

Figure 17: Forms of reparations

Figure 17 - Forms of reparations


[1] See Internal Rules (rev.7), Rule 23 (Cambodia: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, 23 February 2011)