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Public Affairs Outreach of the Court

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Since the beginning of the Duch trial, PAS has taken the lead in ECCC outreach. PAS was instrumental in bringing more than 27,700 visitors to the Court during the trial, for example, as well as for disseminating information about the trial to the media and other interested organizations.[1] It also made the proceedings accessible by providing access to live feeds, distributing DVDs, posting transcripts in a timely manner, and launching an ECCC page on Facebook, Flicker and Twitter.

In conjunction with publicizing the Duch trial, PAS has produced a variety of general informational materials (e.g., films, brochures, The Court Report, etc.) and reached out to the general public, students, and donors. In addition, it developed the Study Tour, a one-day program bringing Cambodians to visit the ECCC and the Tuol Sleng Museum.[2] PAS reported that in 2009, more than 3,018 villagers from 14 provinces participated in the Study Tour in addition to the people who attended the trial. In 2010, this number reportedly increased to 32,633 participants from all provinces across the country.[3] The Study Tour continues in 2011.

PAS has also partnered with local organization Bophana to present video screenings in villages, and with the Ministry of Education, to educate young people about the ECCC.[4] Finally, the Section is hosting, in collaboration with the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), monthly meetings to coordinate with NGOs that are doing their own ECCC outreach.

After a difficult start due to lack of funding and resources, the VSS also in 2009 began to reach out proactively to victims of the Khmer Rouge. The Section’s outreach activities included using the media (radio talk shows, radio spots and advertisements in newspapers) to inform Cambodians about the application process for becoming a complainant or Civil Party in Case 002; participating in NGO meetings and forums; assisting people to visit the Court; and starting a helpline. It also in 2009 organized its own series of regional forums to hear the views and concerns of Civil Party applicants and Civil Parties, and to answer their questions. [5] Those regional forums continue today.[6]

In addition to PAS and VSS outreach programs, more than a dozen local NGOs have provided information to the general public or specific target groups.[7] Their outreach work focused on diffusing information about the ECCC and assisting victim participation in the ECCC proceedings. Radio has been used to broadcast weekly ECCC updates, discuss ECCC proceedings and respond to listener questions through call-in sessions. Audio information is complemented by the distribution of written materials at the district and commune levels or to subscribers of listservs. In addition, the NGOs have developed outreach activities to foster the Cambodian public’s interest and participation in the judicial process. Community meetings, public forums, visits to the Court, attendance at the first trial hearings and community screenings of the first trial hearings are a few mechanisms through which these goals have been implemented. Many NGOs have used their extensive network to reach several hundred thousand people across the country.

In addition to outreach activities, three major groups of national and international NGOs are monitoring the court activities: (1) Open Society Justice Institute (OSJI) releases regular reporting as well as organizes update meetings in Cambodia; (2) Asia International Justice Initiative (AIJI) had a trial-monitoring program for Case 001 with weekly reports and summary films aired on Cambodia Television Network (CTN) with plans for a similar program for Case 002; (3) Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) with Northwestern University School of Law website, Cambodia Tribunal Monitor, provides videos of the proceedings, news, information, and expert commentaries on its website. Additionally several NGOs have monitored Case 001 and plan to do so for Case 002.

[1] The total number of visitors during the first trial was 31,349 including 27,709 public visitors and 3,640 journalists. See “ ECCC Public Affairs Section, Outreach Work” presented at the ICTJ Workshop on Outreach, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 3-5 March 2010

[2] “32,633 Persons Visited ECCC in 2010”, Phnom Penh, ECCC press release, 30 December 2010, available at

[3] Ibid

[4] The video screenings include: 1) “A Day at the ECCC”, video about the court, produced by the ECCC Public Affairs Section; 2) “About my Father” a focus on a Civil Party’s journey, produced by Bophana; and 3) “Testimonial Therapy,” a culturally adapted trauma therapy approach, the result of a collaboration between TPO and Bophana.

[5] “ECCC Victims Unit, Outreach Activities, June-October 2009,” presented at the DED Workshop for the Monitoring of Component 1: Outreach, Phnom Penh, October 19, 2009.

[6] For information on that topic, see “Victims Support, press releases“, (Cambodia, The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia), available at

[7] Those include but are not limited to the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM), the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, the Khmer Institute of Democracy, the Center for Justice and Reconciliation/Center for Social Development, Cambodian Defenders Project, Legal Aid of Cambodia, Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, International Center for Conciliation, Youth for Peace, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, and Youth Resources Development Program.