Khmer Rouge victim remains at a memorial at Wat Troap Kor in Bati district
For the last few months, there has been lots of press talk about the possibility of at least another half dozen former Khmer Rouge leaders being charged under the current Khmer Rouge Tribunal
process. There are five in custody today, four of them being part of the main central committee that made the 'big picture' decisions (Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Thirith), the other is Duch, chief of the S-21 prison. But no-one has mentioned any names for these new half dozen suspects. I'm sure everyone at the court knows who they are and so do the press, but no-one is saying. You can guess why. And I'm sure that the former Khmer Rouge cadre still living in Pailin and Anlong Veng know whether they are likely suspects too. News that one of the inner circle, former KR Commerce Minister Van Rith, died in November in Kandal brings to light the need to get on with the main trial, and any additional trials, as quickly as feasible before ageing suspects and witnesses die. The question remains, who are these additional six suspects that International Prosecutor Robert Petit has submitted to the court? Well, two of them could be Sou Met and Meah Mut, the commanders of the air force and navy during the Khmer Rouge regime, both of whom were named by Stephen Heder in his book Seven Candidates for Prosecution. Others who remain alive and were part of the inner circle include ministers Thiounn Mumm and Keat Chhon (he's still a minister today); and Thiounn Prasith, who was the KR ambassador to the UN. However, less-senior cadre like Duch, and other prison chiefs and interrogators whose hands are covered in blood could also feature among the half dozen and those names are much harder to track down. It's still not clear whether more suspects will be taken into custody, but my view is that they should, and they must be included in the current trial that is unfolding. Too many have got away with too much for too long, it is time they were identified in public and brought to justice.
Labels: Khmer Rouge Tribunal