Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ex-Khmer Rouge in former stronghold play the numbers game

Oct 3, 2010
Comrade Mey Mak
By Robert Carmichael
DPA
So there remains the possibility that 67-year-old Comrade Duch will be the only person held accountable for one of the 20th century's most destructive regimes.
Pailin, Cambodia - 'They do not have blood on their hands,' said Mey Mak, Pailin's bespectacled deputy governor, of the four former Khmer Rouge leaders indicted last month by the war crimes court.

'Khieu Samphan, for example, he was responsible for the economy. Ieng Sary just went in and out of the country, and Ieng Thirith was only in charge of the social affairs ministry.'

'So it seems to me that they are victims,' he said of the movement's former head of state, foreign minister and minister of social affairs respectively.

The fourth person indicted was Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two, and regarded as the movement's chief ideologue.

Mey Mak, who worked for a decade as secretary to the Khmer Rouge's late leader Pol Pot, was speaking at a public meeting in late September in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin in western Cambodia.




Senior members of the UN-backed war crimes tribunal had travelled there from Phnom Penh 400 kilometres away to explain the court's work.

Their trip into the movement's old heartland came just days after the court indicted the four surviving former leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Across Cambodia their indictments are regarded as long overdue. But that is not the case in former strongholds such as Pailin, where the defendants used to live.

Mey Mak told the audience of several hundred police, military and civilians, most of whom former Khmer Rouge, that power lay in Pol Pot's hands. Therefore trying anyone else was inherently unfair.

His comment drew a dry response from international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley.

'I certainly anticipate in this trial, as in many others I have done, that responsibility will be laid at the feet of the dead, and the living will claim innocence,' Cayley said.

The court estimates that up to 2.2 million people died during the Khmer Rouge's catastrophic rule between 1975 and 1979. More than a million likely died violently.

But it turned out that the former cadres at the gathering were more interested in another number: How many people does the court want to try? The answer, Cayley told them, is no more than 10.

The first defendant was Comrade Duch, who was jailed in July for 30 years for his role as commandant of the S-21 torture and execution centre. Then there are the four former leaders, whose trial will likely start next year.

Lastly, the court is investigating five more, who remain unidentified.

'Those five may or may not go to trial, depending on the work of the investigating judges and what they find,' Cayley said. 'So with those 10, that is it.'

It is an answer that goes down well in places like Pailin, but which mystifies the rest of Cambodia. How can no more than 10 people be held accountable for so many deaths?

A large part of that answer is politics, which has constrained the court since before its inception. Many senior figures in Cambodia's government were in the Khmer Rouge, and a court with a wide remit might reveal some uncomfortable truths.

Further afield, the United States and China were among the countries involved in supporting the movement at one point or another, but would rather the spotlight shone elsewhere.

Other nations were involved too, but politics has dominated the life of this tribunal. It will likely rear its head again if - as some expect - the court eventually shelves the five new investigations.

Doing so would suit Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has come out strongly against them. And it seems unlikely that many of the court's Cambodian staff would feel comfortable going against the premier's wishes.

Mey Mak suggested the court should focus more on national reconciliation and less on investigating the five new suspects, although he conceded that trying the four ex-leaders fits with the tribunal's legal remit.

'But like me and others, they wanted to escape from the regime and could not,' he said, before asking his home audience: 'How could they have escaped?'

Just how responsible these four were for what happened lies at the heart of the tribunal's second case. But a more pressing fact is that the youngest defendant is 78, and one or more might not survive a lengthy trial.

So there remains the possibility that 67-year-old Comrade Duch will be the only person held accountable for one of the 20th century's most destructive regimes.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah stupid mey mak, they are all bloody hands evn you bastard are. Don't try to protect your bloody hands comrades. I realised vey sure in 1000% of you all. I am the victim as the other poor people and I am still alive which now I'm facing the same situation of such regime again.

Anonymous said...

Stop wasting money by trying to put the four clowns(Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith)on trial.

Give a stick to someone and take the four clowns left behind the shed. End of story!

They don't deserve trial in my opinion. The estimated 2 million people suffered under their regime never got trial.

Anonymous said...

These murferers are still in power and denying the truth starting with Hun Sen the one eyed hyena.

Jayavarman

Anonymous said...

Chinese never cared if Khmers killed Khmers, for they are the instigators of the genocide!!

Here are reasons why Chinese in Cambodia couldn't have settled in Cambodia prior to the "Angkor Khmer Empire Era"

China was once conquered by Genghis Khan of the Mongol Empire 1206-1227. Then on the other hand, there was never any evidence of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Army ever invading the Khmer Empire. So if China was taken over by the Mongols during that time, what would Chinese be doing in Cambodia during the Khmer Empire?? King Jayavaraman VII reigned during the years 1181-1215, and Genghis Khan reigned during the years 1206-1227. Therfore, how is it possible for the Chinese to migrate to Cambodia, unless a later King granted the Chinese to seek refuge in the Khmer Empire to escape the Mongols. The Chinese is more of a minority in every country it migrates to except in their own country. This explains why there are Chinese ethnic minorities in the Phillipines, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, in many other parts of the world and so on trying to spread their influence with their Chinese sword fighting movies and changing other countries history. Everywhere their people migrate to, they tend to think their ancestors been there since the countries ancient days especially if the country had an ancient glorious history. When in fact they had their own ancient turmoil with the mongols.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayavarman_VII

Anonymous said...

reconciliation, justice, politics.... but what about the million dollars spending so far? we have heard of corruption, slow progress investigation and government interference in the court.
these are not small challenges facing the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. To achieve full reconciliation, Cambodian need justice that mean everyone who committed crime has to be brought to the trial no matter how long it takes.

Anonymous said...

I say a "tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye" staring with the KR murderers still at large within and outside the government.
Every single one of these criminals must be punished.

Jayavarman

Anonymous said...

Mey Mak is right,
we must not prosecute the 5 persons,
we must prosecute the 5 persons and execute Mey Mok.
If Mey Mak wants we follow Pol Pot idea, we must kill all of the people living in Pailin.

Anonymous said...

You're right, they are victims. Those 4 deers in the head light are victims of the Communist party and Communist's Revolution or Angkar Leu. Let's get their bosses to court and make them pay dearly.

Anonymous said...

If the UN is trying to ignore the fact today. The UN will not tomorrow and The UN will call the cleaner. We believe so. Right now the UN is somewhat not with the right people. 2 millions people death by violent death or starving or by deceases resulting from the mother f.cker regime in the world which they had neglected everything they were supposed to do the other way around and yet, The UN seems so lame about it. Sick of taking crap everyday, but thank you for trying and give us some hope.

Anonymous said...

They world needs better court system. The one that gives zero sympathy to the monsters. They don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Mey Mak , you could be one of those criminals who got Khmer innocent blood on their hands.

Anonymous said...

They put Duch 19 years in jail for killing 1'7 million people but CPP Court put some people in jail for more than 20 years without any proves of guilty because they have been acused of doing something against the government and CPP.

Anonymous said...

oh my god,,,hun's just a baby for mey mak.....who can kill him....all the hun's and the gov now....respect him as their goddddddddd

Anonymous said...

oh my god,,,hun's just a baby for mey mak.....who can kill him....all the hun's and the gov now....respect him as their goddddddddd

Anonymous said...

That's how democracy works. Keep doing a good job. Hun Sen can oppress the Cambodian people in Cambodia but NOT in the USA. All Cambodian have freedom to demonstration and send him messages said you are the dictatorship leader for a long time and you'll be out one of these day.

Anonymous said...

Pol Pot would not have been so cruel, had it not been the American imperialist and the Viet communists involvemnts in Cambodia. We, Khmers are buddhist peace loving people. The American and the Viets have Khmer blood on their hands. This is the fact.