ECCC Press Release on 18 May 2009

Posted by khmernews on May 19, 2009

18 May 2009

Press Release

The Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is taking steps to strengthen and streamline its activities in the areas of Public Affairs, Outreach and the Victims Unit.

Public Affairs
Mr Reach Sambath, currently Press Officer, is promoted to become Chief of Public Affairs, responsible for media relations and provision of public information on the workings of the ECCC. The present Chief of Public Affairs, Dr Helen Jarvis will be redeployed to head up the Victims Unit (see further information below). Mr Sambath holds a Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York, is a lecturer at the Department of Media and Communications at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and formerly worked for 12 years with the Phnom Penh Bureau of Agence France Presse (AFP).In early March Mr Lars Olsen, a Norwegian national, was selected to the new position of Legal Communications Officer.  Mr. Olsen holds an advanced degree in law from the University of Oslo, and he has more than 9 years of experience with public relations, media and information work in Kosovo and Norway. His principal responsibility will be to ensure the accuracy, quality, consistency and timeliness of all legally related information issued publicly by the ECCC, particularly the Court Documents section of the ECCC web site. Until the appointment of the new Public Affairs Officer replacing Mr Peter Foster, which is now in process, Mr Olsen will also serve as UNAKRT spokesperson as required.

A new Press Officer, Mr Dim Sovannarom, is to be appointed. Mr Sovannarom holds an Advanced degree in Journalism from Ecole Supérieure de Lille, France and a Masters Degree in Diplomacy and Strategy from the Centre d’ Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris, France and was formerly TV journalist and presenter of Rendez-vous for six years, TVK’s French language current affairs program and was a lecturer in journalism in the French Department of the Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The outreach work of the ECCC will be harmonised and considerably enhanced, thanks to funding both through the new core budget and through the funds generously provided by the government of Germany through GTZ.  Dr Helen Jarvis will continue to have oversight of this work. Mr Neou Kassie has been competitively recruited as Outreach Coordinator, bringing to the ECCC his 30 years of advocacy on behalf of victims of the crimes committed under Democratic Kampuchea, and able to speak as a direct victim of imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge. Mr Kassie was formerly a Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice and has held numerous positions in both government and NGO fields.

Victims Unit

Dr Helen Jarvis will be redeployed as the Head of the Victims Unit. Dr Jarvis has been involved since 1999 in the process of establishment of the ECCC, following a long academic and practical career in the field of information management, including as Documentation Consultant for the Cambodian Genocide Program, which established the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

We wish to acknowledge the contributions made by Ms Keat Bophal, who has announced her resignation from the ECCC after 15 months in the position of Head of the Victims Unit, during which time she led the establishment of this new unit with responsibilities for supporting victims of crimes under Democratic Kampuchea, especially those wishing to file complaints or to become civil parties.

A number of other positions are in the process of being filled to strengthen the functions of the Victims Unit with regard to processing of complaints and civil party applications; assisting and supporting Civil Parties, including with legal representation; and preparing recommendations on probable grouping of civil parties for Case 002. More information will be provided on these developments at a later date. Subject to approval by the Plenary Session of Judicial Officers, it is envisaged that the Victims Unit will have its name changed to the Victims Support Section.

For further information please contact:
Dr Helen Jarvis
Chief of Public Affairs, ECCC
Mobile: +855-12 488 134
Fax: +855-23 219 841

Reach Sambath
Press Officer, ECCC
Mobile: +855-12 488 156
Fax: +855-23 219 841

Lars Olsen
Legal Communications Officer, ECCC
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 023
Tel: +855 (0) 23 219 814 ext. 6169


2 Responses to “ECCC Press Release on 18 May 2009”

  1. James said

    If we can draw anything positive from the recent controversy surrounding the personnel change at the Victims Unit, it is that this brings the victims themselves more directly into the discussion at the ECCC. The actions of the VU will undoubtedly be the most lasting legacy of the Court. The debate about Dr. Jarvis’ qualifications, her politics or her ethnicity go far beyond her as an individual. Rather, they go to the core of the ECCC’s mission: who can best represent the interests of the Khmer Rouge victims? These were issues that perhaps should have been settled long before the Court opened its doors, but the conversation should be welcomed, nonetheless.

    I propose the following solution: If the ECCC is serious about its mission, Dr. Jarvis should announce that she will hold the directorship of the Victims’ Unit only until a thorough and competitive job search can be conducted, in which she is welcome to submit her name as a candidate, to ensure that the person who holds this crucial position is both highly qualified and free from the taint of political bias.

  2. getting a masters degree is of course necessary if you want a wage increase and improvement in your career -~”

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