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Spring 2019 McDougall Lecture

Susan Lamb: Victim Participation Before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

WVU Law 2018-19 McDougall Visiting Professor

Susan Lamb is the 2018-19 McDougall Visiting Professor at WVU Law. She has 20 year's of experience as an international criminal and humanitarian lawyer, having served in senior positions for the Commission for International Criminal Justice and Accountability; the U.N. Assistance of the Khmer Rouge Trials; the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

In addition to her role at WVU, Lamb is a visiting professor at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa where she is teaching international criminal justice. 

Victim Participation Before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), an internationalized criminal tribunal established with UN assistance and located within the domestic legal system of Cambodia, adopted from its inception an ambitious form of victim participation in its trials of the senior leadership of the Khmer Rouge regime and others considered most responsible for atrocities committed during the Democratic Kampuchea period in Cambodia during the 1970s. Those urging the adoption of victim participation before the ECCC responded to perceptions that the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia had failed to sufficiently empower victims, and drew inspiration from a much broader movement towards the achievement of restorative justice by allowing victims to participate in proceedings and by providing compensation to victims for their harm suffered.

The ECCC was the first internationalized criminal tribunal to follow the civil law practice of including victims as parties to the proceedings. The model of victim participation initially adopted before the ECCC permitted extensive rights of participation by victims within the ECCC’s first trial and fuelled early hopes that it may represent an innovative model of access to justice for victims in relation to trials of atrocity crimes before international courts and tribunals. However, this scheme has since undergone substantial amendment, and critical questions remain regarding the overall impact of these measures on a tribunal already overburdened with insuperable trial management and financial challenges, and their efficacy in meeting the core objectives of the victims of Khmer Rouge era crimes themselves.

Susan Lamb

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