Uneven justice in Cambodia
September 21, 2007, 7:17 am
Filed under: Khmer Rouge Issue

Letter to the editor

International Herald Tribune

21 September, 2007

Uneven justice in Cambodia

 

As Cambodians, we are delighted by the news of the arrest of the second-most senior Khmer Rouge leader, Nuon Chea (“Pol Pot’s ‘Brother No. 2’ to face war crimes,” Sept. 20).

The arrest is another step toward justice for almost 2 million Cambodians who were killed or starved to death by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979.

However, many Cambodians believe that the aged and ailing Khmer Rouge leader will not live long enough to serve his prison sentence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia if he is convicted. Given the gravity of the crimes committed by the regime under his command, many people think that Nuon Chea does not deserve the luxury of the ECCC prison while chicken thieves and other minor criminals have to spend many years in harsh conditions in Cambodian prisons.

In a sense, he is lucky to be tried at a court with an international standard of justice, compared to the Khmer Rouge victims who were tortured and starved before they were summarily executed for stealing potatoes or rice to eat.

 

Another chapter of history will be opened if the other remaining suspects are also arrested soon, particularly “Brother Number Three,” Ieng Sary, and his wife, the Khmer Rouge’s social affairs and education minister, Ieng Thirith, who were pardoned by the government when they defected in 1996.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, Phnom Penh

 

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