Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Life sentence gives comfort to victims

Life sentence gives comfort to victims

Life sentence gives comfort to victims

120206_01a

While court experts and monitors expressed concerns with underlying impacts of Friday’s verdict against S-21 chairman Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, for victims of the regime, a life sentence bought solace and justice.

ECCC Pool
Former S-21 detention facility operator Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, last Friday.

“Our Buddhist culture says that if you kill someone, you must be punished,” S-21 survivor Bou Meng said outside the courthouse on Friday.

“Now justice has happened. I have prayed to be able to tell my wife this news,” Bou Meng, whose wife was executed at the Choeung Ek killing fields during the Khmer Rouge regime, said.

More than 800 spectators crammed into the public gallery of the courthouse and spilled out to the small lawn adjacent to hear the words they had been waiting more than 30 years to hear.

“Life sentence – it is justice for the victims,” Kim Huy, a 60-year-old civil party in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s landmark first case, said after the verdict was announced.

“I never expected this verdict because first the court sentenced him so he will serve only 19 years in prison, now my wish to see him sentenced to life imprisonment is true,” Kim Huy said, smiling through her tears.

Encouraged by the delivery of a “just” sentence, victims said they now eagerly anticipated a repeat for Case 002, now before the tribunal.

Chum Mey, 81, another S-21 survivor, said the ECCC was the top court delivering justice to Cambodians.

“I notice Duch’s face turned black when he stood up to hear the announcement of his life sentence,” Chum Mey, whose wife and four children were killed during the regime, said.

“I expect Case 002 to turn out like this,” Chum Mey said.

“It must be a life sentence for all those leaders – if they do not receive a life sentence, then there is no justice.”

Civil party Sum Rith agreed that Duch should not serve his life sentence alone.

“Whether those leaders on trial now are telling the truth or not does not matter. Even if they don’t confess, the truth is the truth and I know the truth,” Sum Rith said.

“All the crimes during the Khmer Rouge regime were not committed by Duch alone.”

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on