The United Nations-backed genocide tribunal in Cambodia trying cases of mass murder and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime on Thursday ordered that more than 1,700 confidential documents, including victims' 'confessions' and witness statements, be made public.
The decision comes after the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) reviewed more than 12,000 confidential and strictly confidential documents in the case file of Case 0001, in which the former head of a notorious detention camp, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was the defendant.
The ECCC is a hybrid court set up after a 2003 agreement between the UN and the Cambodian Government with the aim of trying those accused of the worst crimes during the Khmer Rouge regime. As many as two million people are thought to have died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979, which was then followed by a protracted period of civil war in the South-East Asian country.
In a news release, the tribunal stated that the reclassification process had been conducted in accordance with previously specified guidelines and in broad consultation with ECCC offices, such as the Trial Chamber, the Office of the Co-Prosecutors and the Victims Support Section, amongst others.
"The Supreme Court Chamber sought to strike a reasonable balance between the demand for transparency deriving from the fundamental principles that govern the procedure before the ECCC and the needs for confidentiality dictated by the protection of privacy for victims and witnesses and the preservation of the integrity of on-going proceedings," according to the news release.