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Judges Call on Rebels for Evidence, ‘Justice’

Khmer Rouge tribunal judges ended three days of talks in the former rebel stronghold of Pailin Wednesday, calling on past cadre for further evidence against their old leaders.

The judges held meetings with local officials and former rebels to explain the scope of the tribunal, which is to try senior leaders of the regime only. Court officials issued a handbook to residents to help them understand the tribunal process.

Investigating judge You Bunleng addressed a gathering of Pailin residents, many of them former Khmer Rouge rebels, imploring those who “love justice” to cooperate with the courts and provide evidence for the trials of former leaders.

“The court’s verdict won’t be impartial unless there is participation and help from those who knew or saw anything happen during that period of time,” he said.

Not all in attendance were satisfied with the official explanations of the courts.

“The answer was too brief to clear up what I was wondering,” said Lach Lina, a former Khmer Rouge supporter. “Their answers were in fact just to one question.”

The former leaders so far charged by the tribunal “are respectable aunts and uncles,” he said.

Arrested and charged with atrocity crimes are prison chief Duch, ideologue Nuon Chea, former president Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary and former social affairs minister Ieng Thirith.

Another former Khmer Rouge soldier, Ouch Sam An, said he expected justice from the courts.

“I want to suggest that in order for the court to succeed, they have to find out who were the masterminds of the killing,” he said.