20 September 2007

Perhaps some justice?

Some very, very belated good news and hopefully a little justice for a Khmer Rouge butcher: Cambodian police have arrested Nuon Chea, the most senior survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime.


Nuon Chea, 82, who was arrested as part of a UN-backed genocide investigation, has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity and Cambodian and foreign judges at a special genocide tribunal.


Known as “Brother Number 2”, he was second-in-command to Pol Pot from 1975-79 - during this 1m people, possibly more, were butchered. He has spent the past few decades living freely in Pailin near the Thai border, the movement's former jungle headquarters.


Nuon Chea rose quickly through the ranks of the Khmer Rouge, as it grew from a small Maoist rebel group to a force capable of taking over the country. Analysts say he had an important decision-making role in the regime, which instituted radical policies aimed at creating an agrarian utopia, but in reality caused the deaths of more than a million people through hunger, illness, overwork and execution. Nuon Chea himself has consistently denied any responsibility for the deaths, but earlier this year he indicated he was ready to face the tribunal.


UN-backed trials are finally expected to begin next year. Only one other suspect, Kang Kek Ieu - also known as Duch - has so far been detained Duch, who was arrested in July, was in charge of the notorious S21 jail in Phnom Penh, where more than 17,000 men, women and children are thought to have been imprisoned and brutally tortured. Four other people are said to be under investigation.


Survivors have welcomed the charges against Nong Chea and Duch, but they have also expressed doubts about whether these elderly leaders will ever be brought to account for their deeds during the Khmer Rouge years.


Why did it take so long for This butcher to be arrested? Why was a Khmer Rouge apparatchik allowed to keep the Cambodian UN seat after the Fall of the Khmer Rouge? What part did the Thais play in protecting the Khmer Rouge after 1978? Did the US indirectly support the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s? The responsibility for the Killing Fields lies fairly and squarely with the Khmer Rouge butchers, there are no mitigating circumstances. I have a feeling though that the Khmer Rouge’s survival for years after their overthrow is a story that will make uncomfortable reading.........

7 comments:

Dr. James P. Holdren said...

Arrested at 82? That's like Cheney impeached at the 11th hour. Is there a point?

jams o donnell said...

If he does go to trial (and I do hope he does) He should get a life sentence, or 6 months, both should cover his remaining span.....

beakerkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Bates said...

Perhaps now we will have some answers... or maybe not. Either way, it is very much worth pursuing the matter. Mass murder does not become less heinous with time.

jams o donnell said...

I agree Steve, even if the punishment is token for such ghastly crimes. I get the feeling that there will be some uncomfortable truths coming out as time goes by.

SabineM said...

I think THIS IS good news. Even if he was 100. He did horrible things. Maybe arresting him and putting him to rot the last few years of his life is what he deserves. THe KHmer ROuge didn't show mercy. Why should we?
I had not read this piece of news (as I am mostly running after my kids). Thank you for bringing it to our/MY attention!

jams o donnell said...

You;re welcome Sabine. I hope he rots for at least a little while