22 November 2011

Trial starts of Khmer Rouge leaders

  Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologue, showed no emotion as the short clip of him, dating from 2001 or later, was shown on the second day of opening statements in the trial at the UN-backed court in Phnom Penh.
International co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley told the court that Nuon Chea and his two co-defendants were “thieves of time” and “common murderers” of a whole generation of Cambodians.

“Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, former head of state Khieu Samphan and ex-Foreign Minister Ieng Sary all deny charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for the deaths of up to two million people during the Khmer Rouge’s 1975-79 reign of terror.

“The accused who are before you are thieves of time and common murderers of an entire generation of Cambodians. They robbed decades of development and prosperity from this country,” International co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley. “No one in this country is left unhurt or unaffected by what these three elderly men have done.” 

 Prosecutors showed the packed court the footage of Nuon Chea, taken from the 2009 documentary “Enemies of the People”, to support their claim that the movement had a policy of killing enemies and those it regarded as disloyal.
“If these traitors were alive, the Khmers as a people would have been finished so I dare to suggest our decision was the right one,” Nuon Chea calmly tells a Cambodian journalist in the clip.“If we had shown mercy to the people, the nation would have been lost.”

The footage was shot at some point between 2001 – when the journalist began interviewing Nuon Chea – and the former top regime leader’s arrest in 2007.

Mr Cayley spoke of mass killings of Vietnamese and Cham Muslims, saying that regime leaders had “a systematic plan of genocide” for them, and of the “smashing” of perceived enemies at detention centres across the country.
The defendants knew about and participated in five main accusations against them, Mr Cayley said, including forced evacuations into rural areas, enslavement of the population in labour camps and the widespread practice of forced marriages.

Missing from the courtroom is the fourth accused, Ieng Thirith – the regime’s “First Lady” and the only female leader to be charged by the court – after she was ruled unfit for trial last week because she has dementia.
Nuon Chea was put in the spotlight again when Mr Cayley showed footage of a 2009 court tirade by Ieng Thirith in which she blamed Pol Pot’s right-hand man for having her students “executed” and said everything “was done by Nuon Chea”.
Owing to fears that not all of the accused, who are in their 80s and suffer from various medical ailments, will live to see a verdict, the court recently split their complex case into a series of smaller trials. But during opening statements the prosecution and the defence may address all of the accusations against the three.

Hmm Here's looking forwatd to these three not only surviving their trials but living long enough for a good stretch in prison.


susan said...

The crimes those men instigated go far beyond any punishment we could devise.

jams o donnell said...

That's true Susan

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Prison? Hmm... I wonder if people of Cambodia could be more inventive...

jams o donnell said...

I can think of plenty of things!