21 November 2007

Khmer Rouge head torturer stands trial

The genocide tribunal in Cambodia staged its first historic hearing yesterday when Kaing Guek Eav (aka Duch), the head of the butchering regime's Toul Sleng torture centre, appeared before the panel of judges, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The first hearing of the war crimes tribunal gives millions hope that the Khmer Rouge's senior leaders will finally face justice and provide answers as to why "Cambodians killed Cambodians". In the tribunal's so-called "pre-trial chamber" Duch was watched by a handful of journalists and members of the public. The atmosphere crackled as everyone craned to see the former maths teacher, who was in charge of a prison where 14,000 men, women and children died.

He stood before the panel of robed judges - three Cambodian and two international - bowed slightly and held his palms together in a gesture of respect. "My name is Kaing Guek Eav," he said. "I am 66 years old." Lawyers for Duch argued that their client should be given bail until his trial, due to begin in the middle of next year, as he has been held in custody for eight years without trial, which they said breached Cambodian and international law. But descriptions of the crimes committed on his orders at Toul Sleng prison were also detailed: the people allowed to bleed to death, victims whose toe-nails were pulled out, or those put in pits that filled with water until they drowned. Prosecutors argue that his freedom could stir anger and unrest and fear he might flee justice, and observers believe it highly unlikely the tribunal will grant him bail after refusing an earlier application.

Duch, who became a born-again Christian, was seized on May 10 1999, after confessing and expressing remorse to British photojournalist, Nic Dunlop, who spent years tracking him down. He claimed he acted on Pol Pot's orders. He was transferred into the custody of the £23m war crimes tribunal and charged in July when the rules governing the hearings were finally settled after tortuous talks between Cambodia and the UN. The landmark hearing brought a crumb of comfort to some of those who crowded into the courtroom to witness the day they have long awaited but feared would never come.

"[Duch] should acknowledge his guilt," said a villager, Chhouek Sao, 55, who lost five members of his family to the Khmer Rouge. It's obvious that justice has been delayed and some people are so frustrated by waiting for so long. We victims of the Khmer Rouge absolutely want Duch to be kept in jail forever because he killed so many people."

I wish Duch a long, lucid life so that he can reflect on his terrible crimes. He is a man with a lot of justice coming his way and a hell of a lot to repent.


Agnes said...

My dear Jams, "I wish Duch a long, lucid life" - stop wishing them a long life, they won;t ever repent. A long lucid life is exactly what they want. Lucid as he is, he is still very patriotic.

Blame it on AmeriKKKa. Some already are.

jams o donnell said...

A long lucid life in prison. What's the point of being incarcerated and beign unaware of your location! I think he will plead guilty when the comes to trial

The US did provide support to the Khmer Rouge after it was deposed. That said the Khmer Rouge is responsible for the Killing Fields and nobody else. To blame teh US for that is idiotic.

Agnes said...

this kind of revisionism is tolerated, and interpreted. The US created the Khmer Rouge etc. I read on my favorite (and, alas, defunct site - they went underground for "safety reasons" though this safety must be about their mothers discovering their computer activity) that capitalism was responsible for the never ending food shortages in the socialist bloc. Etc.

Once upon a time I considered it just plain stupid. Nowadays I think it is dangerous.

jams o donnell said...

Ah Poor little rich indian woman and her IRTR arsehole friends?. Surely a central economy could never be at fault, eh!!!

I agree they are dangerous idiots. Perhaps their parents should confiscate their pcs and give them a few porno mags and tissues instead!

beakerkin said...

What you mean Noam Chomsky was wrong when he called eyewitnesses to the Killing Fields liars. His scholarly source was a communist publication in
Australia with a publication of less than 100. Moreover, none of the writers was ever in Cambodia.

Communist despots should be tried for their crimes against humanity. Sadly,
this seems to have happened only in Romania and to a lesser extent in Cambodia. Trotsky met his justice at the hands of his fellow criminals.

Oddly, the far left never seems to
hold Castro, Mugabe, Chavez and whomever accountable for anything.
How does one rail about Abu Gharib wearing a Che T-shirt? Lets see panties on the head vs execution without trial.

Many years ago in the 20's one could claim noble motives. People who continue to advocate this malady should be treated in the exact same manner as Nazis. There is no longer any excuses for ignorance as the historical record speaks is evident.

Maybe the left should look in the mirror and blame themselves.

jams o donnell said...

I think you realise that I have no regard for apologists or revisionists. I hope the Khmer Rouge get the justice they deserve.

As for Chomsky, reading his works on psycholinguistics for a subsiduaty course at university made me vow never to read anything else by him again.

beakerkin said...


I understand the profound differences between Beatroot and yourself and the
more souless types. The mistake many on the left is that they allow the incoherent anarchists and the diabolical communists into alliances.

One can argue about ways to help the poor. However, every single application of Communism has been a disaster. Unlike lab rats who learn
from experience Communists merely attempt to repackage the malady.

beakerkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jams o donnell said...

Beakerkin I don't discriminate on the grounds of perceived political stance. I won't necessarily support someone because they veer left or condemn because they veer right.and vice versa. As far as I am concerned a butcher is a burtcher. In terms of scale the likes of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot are at the top of an evil pile. It does not mean that, say, Videla doesn't deserve proper justice too.

Agnes said...

as if Holocaust denial were better...
tghat is far right, for instance, most of the time.

jams o donnell said...

Very true Red. Nick Griffin, the head of our own brownshirts for inadequates has yet to modify his holocaust denial position.

Agnes said...

You should read some Iron Guard stuff. They are pretty active. The Hungarian Garda not better. But then, as Primo Levi noticed, the far right and far left can go hand in hand. He was right, that is also my opinion.

jams o donnell said...

to be read with a sick bag close by? When you get to that end of the circle there are many similarities. Levi is right