Members of the international community have recently pledged a total amount of $38.48
million towards the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers for the prosecution
under Cambodian law of crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge. Although it is about
$4.52 million short of the $43 million to be solicited from UN member states, the
shortfall in financial contribution is not a big issue.
The victims and survivors of those horrific crimes have waited for far too long for
justice. It has taken almost three decades for us to arrive at the current moment,
and there is only one small financial hurdle to jump before the establishment of
the Extraordinary Chambers. After 30 years of waiting, the long-delayed process of
achieving justice for the people of Cambodia would at last be implemented, assuming
that both the UN member states and the RGC remain committed to their pledges.
Both the UN, including its member states, and the RGC should be praised for their
political and moral courage to tackle this bitter issue, the KR tribunal. It is long
over due and it is better late than never. Those who survived the KR killing fields,
including myself, have not given up the hope that however late, and however imperfect,
impunity will not remain unchallenged, and a measure of justice will be achieved
in the end. This part, at least, will be a precious and important gift to Cambodia
and its still-traumatized people.
As an American, I am saddened and disappointed that the United States Legislative
branch restraints made it impossible to pledge moneys towards the Tribunal. As a
survivor of the killing fields I am personally disgusted with China - the main backer
of the KR regime - which chose to place more barriers instead of doing the right
thing by supporting the tribunal, including financial support.
The murder of my family by a KR death squad in December 1977 was not simply a statistic.
My dead family is entitled to basic human rights that have thoroughly been denied.
Although I personally do not expect much from this exercise (the tribunal), it is
better than nothing at all. To remain silent in face of such evil is no different
than condoning the atrocities committed by the KR. Therefore, on behalf of my dead
family members and millions of my fellow Khmer, I want to express my sincere appreciation
to the donor countries, especially Japan, for their generosity, moral courage, and
for doing the responsible thing by pledging moneys and supporting the Tribunal.