Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Archive

Historic Trial Opens for Aging Khmer Rouge Leaders

From left to right: Nuon Chea, former Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and the No. 2 leader, Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, and Khieu Samphan,f ormer Khmer Rouge head of state, during a trial for former Khmer Rouge top leaders, in Phnom Pen
From left to right: Nuon Chea, former Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and the No. 2 leader, Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, and Khieu Samphan,f ormer Khmer Rouge head of state, during a trial for former Khmer Rouge top leaders, in Phnom Pen
ReportersVOA Khmer

The UN-backed tribunal opened a landmark case against three Khmer Rouge leaders in Phnom Penh on Monday, with prosecution claiming the former communists were involved in a criminal policy that led to mass atrocities.

The widely welcomed proceedings marked the first substantial hearing for the three leaders, Nuon Chea, 85, the chief ideologue of the regime; Khieu Samphan, 80, its nominal leader; and Ieng Sary, 86, its foreign minister, whose case took four years to investigate and bring to trial.

Most of Monday’s hearing was given over to the prosecution’s opening statements, which accused the three men of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other crimes related to one of the 20th Century’s worst atrocities.

“As senior leaders of the Communist Party, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Khieu Samphan conceived to implement a criminal policy that enslaved the entire nation, pulled to their deaths 2 million people and subjected the remainder of the Cambodian people to conditions of the utmost degradation of humanity,” Cambodian prosecutor Chea Leang told Trial Chamber judges.

Their crimes, she said, were a “general and systemic attack against the Cambodian people.”

“More than 200 security centers were put to work, where several thousand people were detained, tortured and executed,” she said. “The number of victims ranged from 1.7 million to 2.2 million. For that reason, they must be responsible for the penalties of every crime.”

A brief portion of the hearing was given over to the defense teams of each suspect, who called for the resignation of international judge Sylvia Carwright and for the disclosure of information from meetings between her and the international prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, that they have claimed were improper.

Long Panhavuth, a court monitor for the Cambodia Justice Initiative, called the prosecution’s opening statement a “meaningful beginning.”

“The real trial has started,” said tribunal spokesman Neth Peaktra.

Monday’s hearing opened what is expected to be a long and complicated trial, putting the regime’s three senior-most leaders before a complex, hybrid court that took years to establish. All three leaders, who are aging or infirm, have been in detention since 2007.

A fourth leader, the former social affairs minister, Ieng Thirith, was excluded from the trial last week on mental health grounds. She remains in detention, pending an appeal from the prosecution of her release order.

Nevertheless, many Cambodians at the court and in the capital expressed hopes that the trial would bring some measure of justice, more than 30 years after the brutal regime came to power.

Va Limhoan, a 55-year-old woman from Kampong Cham province who was present at the court, said she had lost 48 relatives to the Khmer Rouge.

“They killed my brother at a grave,” she said. “And in 1975, they pushed us to the grave, but I am lucky to be alive.”

Khem Vathy, 52, from Kampong Speu province, said she had been waiting for the day she would see the leaders on trial.

“If they sit near me, I will hit them with my shoes,” she said. “On Earth, no one is crueler than they.”

However, in a reminder that the leaders still have some support, Phy Poun, 64, a former messenger of Ieng Sary, told reporters at the court he was against the trial. “Ieng Sary is gentle,” he said, “and I never saw him killing his own people.”

Beyond the court, people of Phnom Penh also welcomed the beginning of the long-awaited trial.

“I want the court to sentence them to a lifetime in prison for what they did,” said Say Bunthoeun, a 45-year-old musician whose parents and brothers died under the regime.

But it remains an open question how the trial might fully bring justice to a nation that still feels deeply the impact of the three years and eight months the Khmer Rouge were in power.

“The former senior Khmer Rouge leaders must openly confess the policy of killing,” said Om Khaung, 81, who survived 22 relatives. “I will give no pardon to them. They must be jailed for a lifetime, to avoid genocides in the future.”

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Human Rights Deteroriating in Cambodia, Says Activisti
X
19 September 2014
Human rights in Cambodia is deteriorating and activist has urged the two main political parties to work together to reverse the trend and end culture of impunity. VOA Khmer Men Kimseng interviews Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, when she was in Washington, D.C early this week.

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Get Over It (Movie: Shutter Island)i
X
22 September 2014
You can say, "No family is perfect, we argue, we fight. So that fight you had with your cousin last year - 'get over it'." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish or www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Get Over It (Movie: Shutter Island)

You can say, "No family is perfect, we argue, we fight. So that fight you had with your cousin last year - 'get over it'." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video Make It Two (Movie: A Walk to Remember)

You can say, "Make it two, please!" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori or www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Ballpark Figure (Movie: Music and Lyrics)

You can say, "I'm going to throw a pool party this weekend, so can you give me a 'ballpark figure' of how many people are going to come?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Twist Someone's Arm (Movie: Cinderella Man)

You can say, "Every time I want my sister to clean her room, I always have to 'twist her arm' to get her to do it." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Doze Off (Movie: Hairspray)

You can say, "I don't know why, but every time I eat 'prahok' (Cambodian anchovy) I find myself 'dozing off' all the time." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to facebook.com/voakhmer or youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.
See more >>>