Friday, August 20, 2010

Comrade Duch Must Not Be Made the Sole Scapegoat of the Khmer Rouge Crimes


17 August 2010
By Theary C. Seng

Late last month, the Extraordinary Chambers (informally, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) convicted the former commandant of the notorious Tuol Sleng torture center, Comrade Duch, for crimes against humanity in the sadistic murders of at least 14,000 Cambodians (possibly including my father) and a handful of foreigners and sentenced him to 35 years of imprisonment. The conviction marked a milestone for Cambodians after having waited some 30 years for some form of credible justice.

However, many Cambodian survivors, including myself, viewed the sentence to be too lenient and incomprehensible in light of the enormity of his crimes. After the Extraordinary Chambers deducted 5 years to redress violations of his rights when he was held illegally in prior military detention and 11 years for the time he’s already served from the 35 years, the victims are left with Comrade Duch effectively receiving only 11 hours of imprisonment for each life he brutally murdered.

(It should be noted that the Trial Chamber correctly considered Duch’s impressive cooperation—confession and remorse which I believe are genuine—as mitigating factors into their sentence of 35 years.)

Moreover, we are appalled at the scant, laughable reparations offered to the victims of Tuol Sleng. We join the Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia in demanding that learning centers be established in all the 24 provinces to be furnished with the assets and equipment of the Tribunal once it has closed operations.

Upon hearing the verdict, Hong Savath, a woman sitting next to me who had been raped and orphaned by the Khmer Rouge and lost a relative at Tuol Sleng, went into shock and almost collapsed in my arms, as captured by the images flashed around the world.

Yesterday, 16 August 2010, the Prosecutors filed an appeal against the lenient sentence. We welcome this appeal even if it has the potential of delaying the trial of the “senior” Khmer Rouge leaders in Case 002 because Comrade Duch’s defense lawyer Kar Savuth had already stated his intention of appealing the verdict anyway. Here, the Prosecutors beat him to it.

Up until this puzzling verdict, we Cambodian survivors have been viewing the Extraordinary Chambers as a very powerful catalyst in breaking the 30 years of “communicative silence” and transitioning us into a culture of dialogue and honorable memorializing.

For many years since Vietnam invaded and ended the Khmer Rouge regime in January 1979, these killer wandered the country with impunity thanks to Cold War politics. Despite their shared Communist ideology, the Soviet Union and Vietnam were sworn Cold War enemies of China: China continued its financial and military support of its satellite, the Khmer Rouge, now straddling the Thai jungle border to the west of the country; the Soviet Union supported the occupation of Vietnam in Cambodia. Still smarting from the Vietnam War and viewing China as an indispensible ally, the US backed a coalition government of Khmer Rouge and non-Communist Cambodian forces with Prince Norodom Sihanouk as its nominal head. This government dominated by the Khmer Rouge was given a seat at the United Nations with support from the US, Europe and pro-West ASEAN nations (e.g. Thailand, Singapore).

The collapse of the Soviet Union brought about the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 which involved all the four Cambodian factions, including the Khmer Rouge. However, the Khmer Rouge boycotted the 1993 general elections envisioned by this Peace Agreement. The elections produced a 2-headed government of First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen and dwindled the power of the Khmer Rouge.

In June 1997, one month before Prince Ranariddh was to be overthrown in a violent coup d’etat by Hun Sen, the Co-Prime Ministers wrote the Secretary General of the United Nations requesting assistance in trying the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. It would take until June 2003 for the UN and the Hun Sen-government to conclude the Agreement to establish the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (its full official name) and until mid-2006 for this Extraordinary Chambers to come into operation.

Hence, the Extraordinary Chambers is the lowest common denominator resulting from a long entangled political compromise, a broken legal construct from the very beginning, but nonetheless the most serious, credible attempt to try the mass crimes of 1975-79.

Since the Tribunal’s operation, civil society has been engaging the Cambodian population to discuss long overdue topics of history, accountability, trauma, peace and reconciliation using the Extraordinary Chambers to jumpstart these conversations. This “court of law” as an object lesson has helped to multiply the benefits in the “court of public opinion”. However, this lenient verdict has taken the air out of us and broken the momentum in our stride toward a more comprehensive justice of both legal accountability and just peace. We will need to regain our composure and faith very quickly (to fight against the strong tide of cynicism from setting in) from this setback in order to concentrate on the larger picture, which is the demand for the quick start of the "senior Khmer Rouge leaders" in Case 002, the core of the Extraordinary Chambers.

Despite our deep disappointment at the light sentence for the grave crimes committed, Case 001 regarding Comrade Duch is significant in familiarizing us Cambodians with the legal process at the Extraordinary Chambers and raising the comfort level of our participation; in this regards, this simple case was a test-run for the heart of the matter—the more complicated trial of the senior Khmer Rouge leaders, Brother No. Two Nuon Chea, KR former Head of State Khieu Samphan, KR Minister of Foreign Affairs Ieng Sary and his wife, KR Minister of Social Affairs Ieng Thirith.

We must bear in mind that Comrade Duch was the commandant of only one Khmer Rouge detention center (Tuol Sleng) and only one “killing field” (Choeung Ek) among at least 200 detention centers and thousands of killing fields spread across the whole country. Phnom Penh was not the only crime scene, but almost every rice field, pagoda and school in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge rounded up their victims – mainly fellow Cambodians evacuated from the capital Phnom Penh and the major towns, believed to be tainted by western imperialism, thus “new” to hardship and suffering – at night for mass execution into graves dug by the victims the day before. They saved the bullets for the war against Vietnam; with their own people, the Khmer Rouge butchered and whacked them from behind at the stem of the neck by more crude farm instruments like hoes. Many died later from asphyxiation from the 20-30 bodies on top of them in the mass graves and the oppressive tropical heat.

Other detention centers resulted in more deaths than the 14,000 at Tuol Sleng. For example, in the Boeung Rai detention center in the heart of the “Eastern Zone” where I was detained as a 7 year old child, the Khmer Rouge killed 30,000 prisoners including my mother. In this prison, every night the Khmer Rouge guards chained the ankles of all the prisoners; they tried to chain my ankles but they were too bony and could slip in and out of these shackles; my job at night was to bring the toilet bucket to other immobile prisoner. One night, a crazy woman in our cabin screamed “I’m thirsty! I’m thirsty!” and drank from the toilet bucket; later the Khmer Rouge prison guards squeezed her head to death with a coconut cruncher for amusement to pass the languid day.

Comrade Duch is “most responsible”, according to the Tribunal, for these grave crimes against humanity of 14,000 lives at Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek, but he was not a "senior" Khmer Rouge leader and should not be made the sole scapegoat of this murderous, genocidal regime where 1.7 million lives were lost.

His conviction on 26 July 2010 is a very good start, even if disappointing in terms of the light sentencing; but it is only a start in the legal process as well as the journey of healing. The heart of the Extraordinary Chambers is the anticipated trial of the senior Khmer Rouge leaders in Case 002, which we must advocate for it to happen quickly before they die of old age, ill health and/or from more invidious political interests.

Should this Cambodian government make Comrade Duch who was not a “senior” Khmer Rouge leader the sole scapegoat of the regime by obstructing the start and completion of Case 002, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will be considered a failure for the millions of dollars wasted and the irreversible cynicism it has embedded in a society already fractured by distrust and fear. If that is the case, let the record show, we have registered our deep disappointment.
________________
Theary C. SENG, a lawyer and first recognized Civil Party to testify at the Extraordinary Chambers, is the author of Daughter of the Killing Fields (first published with Fusion Press London, 2005; to be published in North America for the first time with Seven Stories Press, NYC, forthcoming).

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

missing pictures in the cage. the two pictures that were missing from this cage are: Sihanouk and Monique.

Anonymous said...

Duch crimes were nothing compared to their crimes:
Nuon Chea,
Khiev Samphan,
Ieng Sary and
Ieng Thirith
are the real responsables.
They really ordered their subordinates to kill Khmers.

Anonymous said...

Democratic Kampuchea Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Regime's leaders and members:
Pol Pot
Nuon Chea
Ieng Sary
Ta Mok
Khieu Samphan
Son Sen
Ieng Thearith
Kaing Guek Eav aka Samak Mith Duch
Chea Sim
Heng Samrin
Hor Namhong aka Samak Mith Yaem
Keat Chhon
Ouk Bunchhoeun
Sim Ka aka Samak Mith Muth
Hun Sen...

Committed:
Tortures
Brutality
Executions
Massacres
Mass Murder
Genocide
Atrocities
Crimes Against Humanity
Starvations
Slavery
Force Labour
Overwork to Death
Human Abuses
Persecution
Unlawful Detention


Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime's leaders and members:
Hun Sen
Chea Sim
Heng Samrin
Hor Namhong aka Samak Mith Yaem
Keat Chhon
Ouk Bunchhoeun
Sim Ka aka Samak Mith Muth...

Committed:
Attempted Murders
Attempted Murder on Chea Vichea
Attempted Assassinations
Attempted Assassination on Sam Rainsy
Assassinations
Assassinated Journalists
Assassinated Political Opponents
Assassinated Leaders of the Free Trade Union
Assassinated over 80 members of Sam Rainsy Party.

Sam Rainsy LIC 31 October 2009 - Cairo, Egypt
"As of today, over eighty members of my party have been assassinated. Countless others have been injured, arrested, jailed, or forced to go into hiding or into exile."
  
Executions
Executed over 100 members of FUNCINPEC Party
Murders
Murdered 3 Leaders of the Free Trade Union 
Murdered Chea Vichea
Murdered Ros Sovannareth
Murdered Hy Vuthy
Murdered 10 Journalists
Murdered Khim Sambo
Murdered Khim Sambo's son 
Murdered members of Sam Rainsy Party.
Murdered activists of Sam Rainsy Party
Murdered Innocent Men
Murdered Innocent Women
Murdered Innocent Children
Killed Innocent Khmer Peoples.
Extrajudicial Execution
Grenade Attack
Terrorism
Drive by Shooting
Brutalities
Police Brutality Against Monks
Police Brutality Against Evictees
Tortures
Intimidations
Death Threats
Threatening
Human Abductions
Human Abuses
Human Rights Abuses
Human Trafficking
Drugs Trafficking
Under Age Child Sex
Corruptions
Bribery
Embezzlement
Treason
Border Encroachment, allow Vietnam to encroaching into Cambodia.
Signed away our territories to Vietnam; Koh Tral, almost half of our ocean territory oil field and others.  
Illegal Arrest
Illegal Mass Evictions
Illegal Land Grabbing
Illegal Firearms
Illegal Logging
Illegal Deforestation

Illegally use of remote detonate bomb on Sokha Helicopter, while Hok Lundy and other military officials were on board.

Lightning strike many airplanes, but did not fall from the sky.  Lightning strike out side of airplane and discharge electricity to ground. 
Source:  Lightning, Discovery Channel

Illegally Sold State Properties
Illegally Removed Parliamentary Immunity of Parliament Members
Plunder National Resources
Acid Attacks
Turn Cambodia into a Lawless Country.
Oppression
Injustice
Steal Votes
Bring Foreigners from Vietnam to vote in Cambodia for Cambodian People's Party.
Use Dead people's names to vote for Cambodian People's Party.
Disqualified potential Sam Rainsy Party's voters. 
Abuse the Court as a tools for CPP to send political opponents and journalists to jail.
Abuse of Power
Abuse the Laws
Abuse the National Election Committee
Abuse the National Assembly
Violate the Laws
Violate the Constitution
Violate the Paris Accords
Impunity
Persecution
Unlawful Detention
Death in custody.

Under the Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime, no criminals that has been committed crimes against journalists, political opponents, leaders of the Free Trade Union, innocent men, women and children have ever been brought to justice. 

Anonymous said...

Who killed 1.7 million innocent Khmer peoples?

a) Pol Pot
b) Nuon Chea
c) Ta Mok 
d) Khieu Samphan 
e) Son Sen 
f) Kaing Guek Eav aka Samak Mith Duch
g) Ieng Sary 
h) Ieng Thearith
i) Chea Sim
j) Heng Samrin
k) Hor Namhong aka Samak Mith Yaem
l) Keat Chhon
m) Ouk Bunchhoeun
n) Sim Ka aka Samak Mith Muth
o) Hun Sen...
p) all of above

Source:
DC-CAM
Document Center of Cambodia


On October 7, 2009 Chea Sim, Heng Samrin, Hor Namhong, Keat Chhon, Ouk Bunchhoeun and Sim Ka has been summoned by the UN backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal court (ECCC).

Anonymous said...

Which one of these Khmer Rouge(s) list below is a prison chief of Boeung Trabek prison B32?

a) Pol Pot
b) Nuon Chea
c) Ta Mok 
d) Khieu Samphan 
e) Son Sen 
f) Kaing Guek Eav aka Samak Mith Duch
g) Ieng Sary 
h) Ieng Thearith
i) Chea Sim
j) Heng Samrin
k) Hor Namhong aka Samak Mith Yaem
l) Keat Chhon
m) Ouk Bunchhoeun
n) Sim Ka aka Samak Mith Muth
o) Hun Sen

Source:
DC-CAM
Document Center of Cambodia

Fact:
During the Democratic Kampuchea Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Regime;
There are 196 prisons.
There are 196 prison chiefs.
There are 1.7 million innocent Khmer peoples killed by the Democratic Kampuchea Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Regime.

Democratic Kampuchea Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Regime's leaders and members:
Pol Pot
Nuon Chea
Ieng Sary
Ta Mok
Khieu Samphan
Son Sen
Ieng Thearith
Kaing Guek Eav aka Samak Mith Duch
Chea Sim
Heng Samrin
Hor Namhong aka Samak Mith Yaem
Keat Chhon
Ouk Bunchhoeun
Sim Ka aka Samak Mith Muth
Hun Sen...

Kaing Guek Eav is a prison chief of Toul Sleng prison S21.
Source:
DC-CAM
Document Center of Cambodia

The UN backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal court (ECCC) must indict 195 other prison chiefs.

"I will not allow the UN backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal court (ECCC) to indict more Khmer Rouge Regime leaders, I rather let the court (KRT ECCC) fail.  Indict more Khmer Rouge Regime's leaders will lead the country into a civil war."
Samak Mith Hun Sen
Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime's leader

Samak Mith Hun Sen will not allow the UN backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal court (ECCC) to indict more Khmer Rouge Regime leaders who is responsible for killing 1.7 million innocent Khmer peoples.

Samak Mith Hun Sen threaten to turn Cambodia back into the Killing Fields all over again.

War with whom?
War with innocent Khmer peoples without weapon?

Once a Khmer Rouge, always a Khmer Rouge.

A good Khmer Rouge(s) is a dead Khmer Rouge(s).

Khmer Rouge(s) continue to kill innocent Khmer peoples.

Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime's leaders and members:
Hun Sen
Chea Sim
Heng Samrin
Hor Namhong aka Samak Mith Yaem
Keat Chhon
Ouk Bunchhoeun
Sim Ka aka Samak Mith Muth...

"(Samak Mith) Duch (Kaing Guek Eav) 19 years sentence is too short and doesn't fit his crimes."
Samak Mith Yaem (Hor Namhong)
Prison Chief of Boeung Trabek prison B32

Hor Namhong want the whole world to know that he is not a Khmer Rouge and a prison chief of Boeung Trabek prison B32.

Hor Namhong is a prison chief of Boeung Trabek prison B32.
Source:
"A CAMP CALLED BOENG TRABEK"
PHNOM PENH POST, JANUARY 19 - FEBRUARY 1, 2001

Keo Bunthouk who was detained with her husband, former diplomat Ieng Kounsaky, at the Boeng Trabek camp (Section B32 presided over by Hor Namhong) from 1977 to 1979.

Q: Who should be held responsible for the murders of Boeng Trabek inmates?
A: Now you repeat this question and maybe Hor Namhong will want to assassinate me, what will happen to me? I've heard that Hor Namhong wants to sue the newspaper that said he was Khmer Rouge.

Keo Bunthouk died under suspicious circumstances in 2001, shortly after she gave interview to the Phnom Penh Post.

Keo Bunthouk was a survivor of Boeng Trabek prison B32.

Keo Bunthouk was a member of the Cambodian Parliament from FUNCINPEC Party.

Hor Namhong said to the French judge that he is not a prison chief of Boeung Trabek prison B32, in fact members of his family was killed by Khmer Rouge(s).

Hor Namhong can lies all he want, at the end, he got summoned and will get indict, prosecute, convict and sentence.

Criminals likes to lies.

The place where criminals lies the most is inside the court room in front of the judge(s).

On October 7, 2009 Chea Sim, Heng Samrin, Hor Namhong, Keat Chhon, Ouk Bunchhoeun and Sim Ka has been summoned by the UN backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal court (ECCC).

Anonymous said...

the sky is the limit; let the capable do it! god bless cambodia.

Anonymous said...

Hay Theary,

How come your face is so white in this picture? Do you want to be notist by Mr. Hun Sen? Don't get your face any whiter than Sen wife's face, otherwise you might be in trouble....Keep your intelligent and keep your face. Don't conform to the local both your mental and physical. Otherwise, Cambodia will eat you a live...Keep up with your work and build your strenght from within..
Buddha bless you

Anonymous said...

2:37! they go to space nowaday!

Anonymous said...

she's too americanized to be that good khmer girl! forget it!

Anonymous said...

What is a good Khmer girl ?
An americanized girl could not be a good Khmer girl ?
3:16 AM, you really are a retarded man, I guess. The girl you love is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

DOES CAMBODIA HAVE AUTHORITY CRISIS?
WE NEVER SATISFY AND CONTENT ON ANY THING THE AUTHORITY DOES OR DOES NOT DO. LET'S MOVE ON. AND LET THE TRIBUNAL WORK ON THE NEXT CASE.
FORGIVE AND NOT TURN BACK GAIN AND AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

Hay 3:39 am, I support your statment. Most Khmer men are not capable to handle intelligent Khmer women - they just give them name American Khmer women (that suppose to mean everything that Khmer men cannot handle). Yes, he is a retarded man and of course, you said it - he is an Idiot with a capital "I".

On behalf of Khmer professional women in Cambodia as well as outside of Cambodia(yeepeeeeeeeeeeeeeee). Khmer men, stop being idiot...help build the country...it is your motherland too...

Anonymous said...

It saddens every time I read about the Khmer Rouge trial; the process looks like a dog and pony show. Dont know how many people that were genuinely motivated by finding justice for those who lost their lives needlessly.

Cambodian leadership is NOT capable of taking ownership of their mistakes or responsibility of their action. It's always someone else mistake or better yest, I didn't know... If anyone should be put on trial first, is Sihanouk!

Anonymous said...

Building country needs each and everyone in the country as well as the one that outside and care about Cambodia to participate, otherwise the country will never get build. So help build with whatever you know how...you don't have to be a rocket science. Just contribute what you have, help more, critisize less, give more than you take, be kinds to people you meet,and have less anger toward the people that you never meet...some of you on this bloc might not even know who Theary is as a person...so will you be less critical of her. Give her some moral support...she needs it...give her inner strenght, rather than redicue her look..peace to all,

Anonymous said...

The case 002 is the core and considered the most important of the tribunal. It will reveal all who had involved with the killing field. Let the case begins as soon as possible. We can't wait as times is running out.

Anonymous said...

ព្រះសម្មាសម្ពុទ្ធជាម្ចាស់/

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."

"As a tree cut down sprouts forth again if its roots remain uninjured and strong,so the propensity to craving not being done away,this suffering springs up again and again"Lord Buddha


"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha

Extrait Sihanouk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42RpbMAeiO4

Culture Revolution - Public execution & Impact

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIrUHVFkm9A&feature=related

Cambodge : JEUX De la MORT De SIHANOUK CONTRE YUON

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=FR&hl=fr&v=sVLTFmWX4VE

http://ki-media.blogspot.com/2009/04/9-lives-of-norodom-sihanouk-part-1-in.html

http://ki-media.blogspot.com/2009/04/9-lives-of-norodom-sihanouk-part-2-in.html

Anonymous said...

~ THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ~
1) Thou shalt have no other GODs before me.
2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy GOD in vain.
4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it HOLY.
5) Honour thy father and thy mother.
6) Thou shalt not kill.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness.
10) Thou shat not covet.