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Letter to the editor: Rob Lemkin

A scene from Enemies of the People.
A scene from Enemies of the People.

Letter to the editor: Rob Lemkin


For several months now I have been pestered by the Supreme Court Chamber (SCC) of the ECCC over highly sensitive information regarding the internal party conflict that drove the violence of Democratic Kampuchea.

I have recently learned that the SCC has ruled to exclude the information they requested from being admitted as evidence in the appeal case of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

I can only conclude that the SCC was in reality engaged in an intelligence-gathering fishing expedition and not on a genuine journey towards discovering the truth of the Khmer Rouge period.

I have been personally criticised by the court – and a long line of ill-informed and rather self-serving prosecutors – for earlier not handing over the material relating to the films Enemies of the People and One Day in Po Chrey: Anatomy of a Massacre. My colleague on those films, Thet Sambath, was convinced the court was not an institution of good faith. Foolishly, I had begun to hope he was wrong.

It seems the ECCC has been content to use the material from those films selectively and, often, erroneously when it serves to assist conviction. When the material points in another direction – not, incidentally, necessarily away from the guilt of the accused – the court recoils.

The SCC’s decision is so narrowly juridical as to be meaningless in the real world. It essentially says that history is too complicated for a law court to make sense of.

Instead the court opts for a simplistic fantasy – four years of motiveless killing – that does not even begin to serve the memory or interests of the untold victims of the horrendous violence that engulfed Cambodia in the 1970s.

Rob Lemkin
Enemies of the People


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