Posts Tagged ‘Pol Pot’

Kambodscha: 30 Jahre Haft für Folterchef – zu kurz, sagen die Opfer

Montag, Juli 26th, 2010

“30 Years in Jail Too Short for Khmer Rouge Leader – Victims
By Steve Finch

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Jul 26, 2010 (IPS) – The Khmer Rouge tribunal delivered its first verdict Monday and sentenced a key leader of the genocidal regime, Comrade Duch, to 30 years behind bars, but many victims were left complaining over this sentence outside the emotional courtroom.

Comrade Duch, whose real name is Kaing Khek Eav, was chief of the notorious S-21 detention and torture facility here in the Cambodian capital, where at least 12,380 people were killed during the Khmer Rouge’s rule from 1975 to 1979.

Because the 67-year-old Duch has been in detention since May 1999, or more than 11 years ago, his sentence could in the end be reduced to about 18 more years from now. ‘The verdict is too light,’ complained Bou Meng, one of just 12 people to walk out of Duch’s torture facility at Tuol Sleng prison.

Although the prosecution had asked for the maximum 40- year sentence, judges at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal said Duch’s compliance with the court and ‘limited remorse’ meant that a total sentence of 35 years was sufficient.

‘This court has tried and punished a perpetrator of Democratic Kampuchea, one of the most macabre regimes of the modern era,’ Co-prosecutor Chea Leang said following the hour-long verdict, which found the defendant guilty of crimes against humanity and crimes against the Geneva Conventions of 1949 that limit the barbarity of war.

A further five years was removed from the sentence due to what was already deemed to be illegal detainment by a military court following Duch’s original arrest in May 1999 up to July 2007, when he was handed over to the United Nations-hybrid court itself. With this taken into consideration, Duch will likely be imprisoned until 2029, subject to appeal.

‘Anything under 30 (years) is not acceptable because it’s inconceivable that he could even have one minute on the street,’ said Theary Seng, president of Cambodia’s Board for Justice and Reconciliation.

‘Now if the international community isn’t providing us justice, it leaves us with hopelessness,’ she added.

Close to 1.7 million people, or nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population at the time, were executed or died during the Khmer Rouge’s rule due to forced labour or from starvation, as the leader of the extremist Maoist group, Pol Pot, tried to create an agrarian utopia in the country.

It was not just the Duch verdict that caused disquiet, particularly among the civil parties, in what was the first time that victims and their families have been considered part of an international hybrid court process.

In a surprise move, President of the Trial Chamber Nil Nonn told the packed courtroom that only 66 of the civil parties would be recognised in relation to the groundbreaking verdict, meaning that some 21 who had formed part of the process – mostly relatives of those killed under Duch’s command – were not eligible for this recognition.

‘I am not happy,’ said Hong Savath, whose uncle died in S-21. ‘The judge should have told me from the beginning that I am not a civil party.’

She would appeal, she added, although lawyers representing the civil parties throughout the process lamented that reparations were little more than symbolic anyway. This is because the Khmer Rouge tribunal had not set up the likes of a trust fund to compensate victims, as is the case with the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Along with a compiled list of Duch’s confessions of guilt and remorse, the names of those deemed victimised as a result of his actions are to be compiled on the official tribunal website.

But as some civil party lawyers noted, many of the relatives of the Khmer Rouge victims are unlikely to ever witness this gesture anyway, because Cambodia is among the least Internet-connected countries in the region.

‘It seems … what has been ordered is the most minimal, most conservative and – perhaps it’s fair to say – rather unimaginative reparations,’ said Karim Khan, a legal representative of some of the victims.

While lawyers, court monitors, spokespeople, judges, journalists and humanitarian workers announced and debated the verdict and its many intricacies, the most quiet person in the whole process on Jul. 26 was Duch himself.

Asked to stand for the final verdict, he gave little indication of emotion. The five judges did not give the former revolutionary a chance to respond to the deliverance of justice that he denied his own detainees at S-21.

After firing his previous lawyer before the verdict, Duch is expected to lodge an appeal, especially given his surprising request for acquittal during the final hearings at the end of 2009.

The question many have asked throughout this lengthy process is: has Duch changed?

Despite his metamorphosis from mass murderer to Christian aid worker after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, S-21 survivor Chum Mey says he had seen little in the way of remorse and humility in the regime’s chief torturer. ‘Until now, he is the same man. I still see the violence in him and I still see the arrogance.'”


(Quelle: IPS.)

Kambodscha: Folter-Chef der Roten Khmer erhält nach 31 Jahren sein Urteil

Dienstag, Juli 20th, 2010

“Judgment Day Nears for Khmer Rouge Torturer-in-chief

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK – The torturer-in-chief of a notorious prison during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia will finally learn what price he has to pay for the almost mathematical precision with which he carried out his duty to torment and kill nearly 14,000 people, including babies.

The judgement on Jul. 26, in the first international trial of a surviving Khmer Rouge leader, will be a groundbreaking moment for the South-east Asian nation, coming 31 years after the genocidal regime led by Pol Pot was driven out of power.

The 77-day trial of Kaing Khek Eav, better known as Comrade Duch, at the U.N.-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, began on Mar. 30, 2009.

The prosecution in this hybrid war crimes tribunal, which includes international and local jurists and lawyers, has pushed for a 45-year sentence for the 67-year-old chief jailer of the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. Duch faces charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder and torture.

Tuol Sleng, or S-21 as the extremist Maoist group called it, was a former high school where Duch and other jailers interrogated and tortured civilians, including children, who were considered enemies of the Khmer Rouge.

Only 11 people came out alive from the estimated 12,380 to 14,000 people imprisoned in Tuol Sleng. It was one of the nearly 200 detention centres that the Khmer Rouge maintained across the country during its rule from April 1975 to January 1979.

During this period, close to 1.7 million people, or nearly a quarter of that country’s population at the time, were executed or died due to forced labour or from starvation, as the reclusive tyrant Pol Pot pushed to create an agrarian utopia.

Among those who survived Cambodia’s ‘Killing Fields’ is Vann Nath, for whom the Duch trial has been a personal matter. He was among the 11 prisoners of Tuol Sleng who walked out alive. Duch was “the former butcher of Tuol Sleng,” Vann Nath wrote in a book about the horrific period he spent in the Khmer Rouge’s most notorious prison.

It was his talent as a painter that kept him alive. Vann Nath was ordered to produce regular portraits of a man he hardly knew but was shown black-and white photographs of – Pol Pot. This order from Duch left him little room for error in making the initial black-and-white, and the subsequent colour portraits, of the Khmer Rouge leader.

“I will go to the court to hear the verdict if my health is good,” the now 63- year-old Vann Nath said in a telephone interview from Phnom Penh, where he is recovering from surgery on his left arm. “I hope the court will be fair and provide justice in its verdict.”

Other Cambodians like Youk Chhang are more demanding of the judgement for Duch. A long sentence for Duch – spending the rest of his years in a prison where “he will be fed daily” and “do nothing more” – may not “satisfy all the people who followed his trial and learnt of all the horror that took place,” Youk told IPS.

“He should be made to read the confessions of what he did to the victims in Tuol Sleng every day in prison as a reminder of his actions,” said Youk, director of the Phnom Penh-based Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC- Cam), which has recorded the accounts of nearly one million victims and identified the presence of 20,000 mass graves. “Some people want him to get a life sentence so that he could never be a free man.”

Whatever the judgement, the significance of the Duch trial has not been lost on a country still struggling to recover from nearly two decades of conflict, including the Khmer Rouge brutality, from the early 1970s through the mid- 1990s.

After Duch, other more powerful surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge are headed for the tribunal. They include Nuon Chea, who was Pol Pot’s deputy, Khieu Samphan, the country’s president during the Khmer Rouge years, and Ieng Sary, the foreign minister at the time.

Beyond the legal import of its work, the tribunal has also been helping fulfill the broader objective of helping Cambodians reach closure in a painful part of their history. The national broadcasts of its proceedings serve as a court- sanctioned narrative of a dark period that had not been subject to official scrutiny.

“The court’s outreach has had a measure of success in informing the public about what was going on at the Duch trial,” says Rupert Abbot, a lawyer at the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights. “The process has had a role in people understanding what happened and why things happened.”

“The trial will help bring some closure,” he said in an interview from Phnom Penh. “It will help draw a line about a period in Cambodian history, especially since you have a new generation.”

More worrying, however, with the upcoming verdicts on the cases of ageing Khmer Rouge leaders, is how much support the tribunal will receive from the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who used to be a low-ranking Khmer Rouge member.

“The government has not been playing ball,” says Abbot. “The Duch trial was easy, because he was willing to admit to what he did, and it was just at S-21. In the next cases, the crime scene is the entire country.”‘


(Quelle: IPS News.)