Workshop - Transformative Reparations at the ECCC, Phnom Penh, 28 November 2014

On 28 November 2014, the Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW Australia, Asian International Justice Initiative and the Victims Support Section (VSS) at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), with the support of UN Women, held a workshop on Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender Based Violence at the ECCC. This research was supported under Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP DP140102274).[1]


This workshop built upon earlier research and activities considering the perpetration of sexual gender-based violence crimes during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, including the November 2013 training on gender sensitive reparations and the Cambodian Defenders Project Womens’ Hearings held in 2011, 2012 and 2013.


At the workshop, a range of ECCC actors, representatives of civil parties, researchers, academics and civil society organisations were invited to consider the possibilities for designing reparations that address the harms resulting from sexual and gender-based violence. In particular, participants examined the emerging scholarship and practice concerning whether or how reparations could be designed and implemented in a manner that could ‘transform’ the social inequalities and structures that contribute to the commission of these crimes. Such ‘transformative reparations’ focus on identifying and changing underlying conditions that led or contributed to the causes of conflict - and sexual violence in particular. Moreover, transformative reparations recognise that traditional forms of reparations, which tend to focus on restoring the victim to the position they were in before the crime occurred, are often blind to or insufficient to address such societal factors.


Workshop participants applied this concept of transformative reparations to the Cambodian context to determine the potential of the reparations projects developed within the ECCC framework to contribute to transformation. Participants considered the experiences from the reparations requested in previous cases, Cases 001 and 002/01. They then assessed the potential for the current case before the ECCC, Case 002/02, which includes charges of forced marriage and sexual and gender-based violence, to support reparations projects that might have transformative effects. The participants next developed a range of possible reparations projects that might address the particular needs of victims of sexual and gender-based violence during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, as well as potentially altering attitudes or conditions that contribute to sexual and gender-based violence in Cambodia today. Finally, a number of recommendations were drawn from the discussions and presentations.


Please contact Sarah Williams ( or Emma Palmer ( for additional information.


To view a copy of the workshop report, Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Reflections, Recommendations and Next Steps, click here.


[1] The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Australian Research Council.

This workshop forms part of a research project supported under Australian Research Council Discovery Projects funding scheme, project number DP40101347.



Sarah Williams

Associate Professor in International Law

Faculty of Law

UNSW Australia


Melanie Hyde

Asian International Justice Initiative

Phnom Penh