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Tribunal betrays the ideal of justice

Tribunal betrays the ideal of justice

Dear Editor,

Like most Cambodians, I was happy when the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia began their judicial process in 2007.

There is a pressing need for justice in Cambodia, because the Khmer Rouge was among the most criminal regimes in human history.

And, like most Cambodians,  I was happy when the final decision in the first case was handed down and Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former chairman of the Khmer Rouge S-21 security centre in Phnom Penh, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

But today, like most Cambodian people, I am extremely disappointed by the Trial Chamber’s delay in dealing with Case 002.

This case involves the highest-ranking surviving members of the so-called Democratic Kampuchea regime.

They are charged with crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and genocide against this country’s Muslim Cham and Vietnamese populations.

The Trial Chamber held the initial hearing of Case 002 in June, 2011, 17 months ago, but the first verdict is far from being handed down.

May I remind the judges of the Trial Chamber that the Nuremberg war-crimes trials, which had to deal with 24 former leaders of Germany’s Nazi regime, took less than a year to decide the defendants’ fate?

Despite this unbearable slowness, the Trial Chamber recently made a decision to reduce the weekly number of hearings. This is a shame.

More important, it is an insult to the victims and survivors of the Cambodian tragedy who are waiting for justice.

It is also an insult to the people whose taxes in their home countries contribute to the ECCC’s budget.

Above all, it is an insult to all the people around the world who believe in internal penal justice and the absolute necessity to fight impunity.

Raoul Marc Jennar
A Cambodian citizen

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