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Full Justice ‘Impossible’: Tuol Sleng Survivor

A survivor of the Khmer Rouge’s Tuol Sleng prison considers the formation of the UN-backed tribunal a bit of good luck, and says even if the court doesn’t bring full justice, it may bring enough.

“Although the tribunal can’t get 100 percent justice, I would accept even 50 percent,” said Chum Mey, one of the few survivors of the prison run by Kaing Kek Iev, or Duch.

The trial for Duch in his role as administrator of Tuol Sleng and other facilities concluded in October, with a verdict expected soon. Duch and four senior regime leaders will go on trial for atrocity crimes as early as this year.

Speaking as a guest on “Hello VOA” Monday, Chum Mey said the court provided a historical lesson that could prevent other atrocities like those committed by the Khmer Rouge. However, he warned, people need to participate.

“How can we get 100 percent if there are those who do not open their mouths to speak, open their mouths to tell the truth?” asked Chum Mey, 78, who recently stared the Khmer Rouge Victims Association.

The association has 800 members who were victims of the regime, and he said he hopes to bring national healing and reconciliation to the country.

Around 7,000 victims have so far filed complaints and other briefs to the tribunal through its Victims Unit, but for the court to bring full justice for the atrocities of the regime would take years, Chum Mey said. “It’s impossible.”

“Just Duch so far, in how many years already?” he said. “It’s 30 years already.”