Appeasing the International Conscience or Providing Post-Conflict Justice: Expanding the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Restorative Role


Three decades after the Cambodian civil war, the leaders of the Khmer Rouge will finally be brought before an internationalized domestic tribunal. While the majority of those most responsible have died off or received immunity for their conduct, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has the historic possibility of reaffirming the importance of international criminal justice and providing an historical narrative of the crimes committed and victims created.

This commentary evaluates the importance of restoration in transitional justice and the importance victims and witnesses play in post-conflict justice. This article will argue that previous post-conflict remedies required a balance of restorative and retribution in order to effectuate transitional justice. In turn, the incorporation and protection of witnesses and victims was vital to reconciliation.

This article summarizes the importance of victims and witnesses in the context of Cambodia and describes mechanisms the Khmer Rouge Tribunal can use to enhance their participation and protection. By expanding the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s restorative role, it can bring provide post-conflict justice rather then appease international guilt.


Human Rights Law | International Law

Date of this Version

April 2006