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Response to UN statement on KRT

I read the public statement of June 14, 2011, by the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon entitled “United Nations Rejects ‘Media Speculation’ that Judges Received Instructions to Dismiss Case before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia” with several appalling thoughts:

1. Lack of wherewithal (or concern) of the gravity of public and victims’ sentiments. Rather than being re-assured that the United Nations at the Extraordinary Chambers (ECCC) is pursuing truth and justice and adhering to its own international standards, I am left fuming at its unconvincing, self-interested denial and meaningless recitations of fundamental legal principles divorced from its actions on the ground as perceived not only by “media speculation” but by the majority of victims and the larger international public. It should be noted that it was the victims (and the victims’ larger voice of civil society) who first raised the alarm bell that troubling irregularities are afoot in the ECCC Office of Co-Investigating Judges, later covered by the “speculating media”.

A US$200,000,000 UN-paid process is being hijacked by a few UN officials led by Judge Siegfried Blunk and all the United Nations headquarters can issue is a belated, knee-jerk reactionary public statement of denial and reinforcement of the misconduct of its personnel.

Also, the public statement completely ignores the rights and participation of victims in the criminal proceedings, ironically coming from the same UN who had heralded, when convenient, the unprecedented involvement of victims in the Extraordinary Chambers.  

Note to UNHQ: We may be a 14,000,000 illiterate majority, not versed in sophisticated legal matters, but we are not stupid; please stop treating us as such. Our sense for justice, for basic right and wrong is stronger than your legalistic reasoning.

2. “International standard with a sink” for the Cambodians. The public statement dribbles with this pathetic, underlying hypocrisy of a two-tiered international standard: the one espousing basic universal principles for the developed world and another tattered, synthetic version for the poor of the world – an “international standard with a wink” for the Cambodians, if you will.

3. Blatantly, misleadingly wrong in characterising the accused in Case 002. “The accused in Case 002 are the four remaining leaders of the Khmer Rouge” is a completely wrong, completely misleading statement. It is either a careless mistake or an intentionally misleading phrasing to condition the public to think that Meas Mut, Sou Met, Im Chaem, Ta Yim Tith, Ta An of cases 003 and 004 are not also “remaining leaders of the Khmer Rouge”.

If we can only ask the tens of thousands of victims who perished at their hands and the millions of surviving victims still traumatised by their mass crimes.

Theary C SENG,
Representative of Civil Parties of Orphans Class, Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia.

Send letters to: or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the authors' and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.



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