I refer to the letter in the Post of May 25 entitled "A KR who was what"
by Craig Etcheson and Steve Heder. I deny that my views and suggestions are baseless
or that they arise from paranoia. Rather, they arise from facts and analysis.
In a campaign in support of Hun Sen's demands and the US "compromise formula"
that a KR Tribunal in Cambodia be staffed partially by Khmers, Etcheson, members
of the Cambodia Genocide Project, and other pro-Hun Sen foreign activists such as
Tony Kevin lobbied - tormented rather - the UN to accept Hun Sen's demands.
My views also arise from the fact that Etcheson has advocated the view that Hun Sen's
actions during the July 1997 coup were legitimate.
In his article in Interchange (vol 9(4) Fall 1999, p 21) Etcheson states "in
my view, the spark which ignited the July 1997 fighting was singular.
"Under the influence of a tragically misguided strategy, the royalist forces
of the coalition government foolishly attempted to form a military alliance with
the Khmer Rouge in an effort to counter the superior strength of the CPP.
"Predictably, this was perceived by the [CPP] as not only a coup d'etat, indeed
as the return of the Khmer Rouge. So CPP responded in kind. Although it was extremely
brutal, this had the salutary effect of removing a critical axis of structural instability:
competing armed forces. Hun Sen thus accomplished the integration of armies, which
was a key plank of the Paris accords ...This could not be done so without spilling
In fact, gambling with the KR was not FUNCINPEC's strategy alone, as Heder stated:
"everybody in Cambodia knows that Hun Sen and other CPP officials had engaged
in the same or similarly illegal acts or more" (Post June 19, 1998).
In addition, the Paris Accords did not anticipate an integration of armies the way
Hun Sen did in July 1997. Further, a document was signed by FUNCINPEC and CPP dividing
the Khmer areas they both wanted to defect to the Royal Government. Etcheson's statement
is, if any thing, political propaganda.
In the same Interchange, Etcheson asked: "Will this compromise hold, and have
the effect touted by the Prime Minster? Will a genocide tribunal be convened with
international cooperation...?" He answered "One must fervently hope that
Reportedly, the UN now is giving in. The Hun Sen/US formula basically prevails.
There seems a consensus that the Judiciary is a CPP creature. The CPP is in firm
control of the judiciary: for instance, Dith Munty, the President of Supreme Court,
is a member of the CPP's leading bodies, the Central Committee, Standing Committee
and the Permanent Committee.
In the Appeal Court Ly Vouch Leang, the President, is a candidate member of the CPP
Central Committee. Leang and Munty are also members of the Supreme Council of Magistracy
(SCM), whose duty includes appointing and dismissing judges and prosecutors.
It should be remembered that when Hun Sen staged the coup in 1997, no one touched
him. When he insisted there would be no international tribunal in or outside Cambodia,
he got it. When he demanded that majority judges be Khmer, he got it.
- Bora Touch, Sydney