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Khmer Rouge Tribunal Allows 150 Witnesses Only To Testify

Khmer Rouge Tribunal top officials Wednesday say that the special Khmer Rouge Tribunal plans to allow about 150 Democratic Kampuchea genocidal witnesses to testify at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

The Khmer Rouge regime is responsible for the deaths of 1,7 million people in the 1970s. The plan was made public after news about the witnesses to the killing fields wishing to participate in the upcoming tribunal.

Director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Sean Visoth says at a seminar for the Khmer Rouge victims' justice, that the witnesses, both local and abroad, will be invited to participate in the tribunal, and that from the 150, 30 will be from abroad.

Mr. Vannath was Khmer Rouge regime's victim at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison. He recounts the atrocities at this site. He says he was tortured by electric wire on 12-31-1977, at the security center, area 4, Battambang province.

He says that as usual, when the victims got to the center, they were traumatized by the sight of the torture apparatus, such as electric whips, plastic bags, blood stains everywhere...

Opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP) and civil society officials show their dissatisfaction about this decision, saying the Khmer Rouge Tribunal should review its decision by allowing other witnesses to appear in court too, saying that it is not a good idea to set a definite number, and that the tribunal should open its door to those people who volunteer to be witnesses.

SRP legislator Keo Remy says that genocide is a very serious crime, and there should be more witnesses than the set number.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights' director, Kem Sokha says that there are hundreds of other witnesses that can testify but are not invited, and that this is a human rights violation.

France-based Khmer Rouge's victims committee's chairman, Chhay Hok Pheng says that a true justice does not lie on the punishment of the accused, but rather on the respect of the victims' souls and the respect of the living victims.

The Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for the deaths of almost 2 million Cambodians during its reign of terror from 1975-1979 by forced labor, starvation, diseases, and murders.