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KRT critic offers ‘Poetic Justice’

KRT critic offers ‘Poetic Justice’


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A sharp dart through the eye of Khieu Samphan was the best justice Khmer Rouge regime victims could hope for, outspoken victims’ advocate Theary Seng said yesterday.

After handing her civil-party status withdrawal to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, Theary Seng launched her “Poetic Justice” campaign, which includes the “War Criminals” dartboard and darts pack.

Currently, “War Criminals” dartboards include targets depicting the faces of Pol Pot and former US diplomat Hen­ry Kiss­inger, as well as the four accused in Case 002.

Theary Seng, who was orphaned by the KR regime, said she also planned to release dartboards of former American president Richard Nixon, Khmer Rouge cadres Ta Tith, Ta An and Im Cheam, and military commanders Meas Muth and – once a public photograph is located of him – Sou Meth.

“Poetic Justice is to negate the nefarious leg­acy of the Khmer Rouge tribunal,” Theary Seng said. “The UN has failed us miserably; the tribunal has failed victims miserably.”

Theary Seng said the dartboards were a way to educate people through humour.

“There are twin goals: firstly, therapy in the form of a way to release aggression and save the faces of the wives and children in Cambodia.

“Secondly, this is a humorous way to educate people,” she said, adding that the dart­­boards came with a booklet explaining Case 002. War criminals collectors’ cards, trivial pursuit, door mats, bath mats and cushion covers would be the next Poetic Justice prod­ucts, she said.

“I feel such a relief that I don’t have to play a role in that theatre any more,” she said, referring to her decision to end all participation in the tribunal.

“I decided to withdraw completely because I do not have faith in the court as a whole, and I do not have faith in the lead [civil party] co-lawyers.

“One is an incompetent neophyte with no international background who would not allow me – as a victim – to speak with her, and the other is the same.”

The KR tribunal is a unique international court in terms of victim participation through the “civil party” system.

Because of the enormous number of civil parties in Case 002, the tribunal divided victims into smaller groups, such as genocide victims and forced-marriage victims.

Each group is facilitated by lawyers acting as intermediaries between victims and the two lead civil party co-lawyers who represent victims in court.

Cambodian civil party co-lawyer Pich Ang dismissed Theary Seng’s allegations.

“She does not know us well or understand our legal work,” Pich Ang told the Post, adding that he and his international counterpart, Elisabeth Simonneau Fort, had personally met “zero” of the victims in Case 002.

Simonneau Fort agreed. “We can only meet civil parties with their lawyer, who is their intermediary; we cannot be in contact with civil parties directly.”

Clair Duffy, of the court monitor Open Society Justice Initiative, said the lead civil-party co-lawyers had to balance the competing demands of a large number of civil parties.

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