Research Handbook on Transitional Justice
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Research Handbook on Transitional Justice

Edited by Cheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett and Dov Jacobs

Providing detailed and comprehensive coverage of the transitional justice field, this Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to explore how societies deal with mass atrocities after periods of dictatorship or conflict. Situating the development of transitional justice in its historical context, social and political context, it analyses the legal instruments that have emerged.
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Chapter 23: Pursuing retributive and reparative justice within Cambodia

Rachel Killean


This chapter seeks to provide an overview of the transitional justice mechanisms through which successive Cambodian governments have sought to address the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, a radical communist movement which seized power in 1975. It examines two transitional justice mechanisms: the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (‘ECCC’). Both mechanisms have predominantly pursued retributive justice as a means of addressing the past, through their focus on the criminal prosecution of those deemed most responsible for the Khmer Rouge regime’s crimes. However, it appears that the ECCC has also sought to incorporate more reparative forms of justice through its incorporation of victim participation, reparations and other non-judicial measures. This chapter will examine the extent to which the mechanisms have successfully pursued these justice goals, before concluding with some tentative observations on the extent to which the two mechanisms have successfully aided Cambodia’s transition from its violent past. Cambodia; retributive justice; reparative justice; People’s Revolutionary Tribunal; Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

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