A Cambodian-American lawyer and civil party for the Khmer Rogue tribunal recommended that people participate in the legal process as leaders of the regime head to trial, rather than resorting to violent rhetoric.
Seng Theary, founder of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation, spoke on “Hello VOA” from a studio in Washington, where she marked International Women’s Day.
“I wish to encourage and ask our brothers and sisters to release their anger through monitoring, expressing their opinion from the bottoms of their hearts,” she said. “Don’t use violence, but turn our violence into release through legal protests, as the existing right of people living in a society moving toward democracy.”
Seng Theary was responding to a caller who asked whether Khmer Rouge leaders would be punished the same way they punished those under them when they rose to power.
She said she was facing the same feeling as other victims, but said people should allow anger and the psychological impact of the regime dominate their thinking.
“If there is anger in our minds, there will not be development,” she said, adding that healing was a worthwhile, if difficult, goal to pursue.
Seng Theary, who lost family members to the Khmer Rogue and is a civil party complainant at the UN-backed court, said not all leaders of the regime would be tried, due to limited resources of the court, but those now under arrest were symbolic of justice.
Were all Khmer Rouge involved in killings to be tried, the country could see instability, she said, echoing concerns of Prime Minister Hun Sen and other Cambodian court officials.
Meanwhile, women need a greater role in politics, Seng Theary said.
“If women played roles as politicians and celebrities, they could provide a model to the entire society,” she said. “Especially young women who are thinking of the choices for their lives.