Thursday, November 26, 2009
Comrade Duch as totally underwhelming and almost a slap in the face of the millions of Cambodians who have been patiently waiting, for 30 years, to see real justice served against the key perpetrators of the Khmer Rouge insanity. Okay, Duch is 67 and if he served the full 40 years, if the judges agree with the prosecution demands, he wouldn't see the light of day again but that's not really the point. This man presided over the deaths of at least 12,000 people, 99.9% of them were fellow Cambodians alongwith a handful of westerners who were also murdered. He made certain, with consumate precision, that many of them were interrogated and subjected to inhumane punishments before they were executed. Despite his protestations, he ran S-21 (Tuol Sleng) as his personal fiefdom and his word was law. This man is guilty, though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, of managing and controlling one of the worst excesses of torture and murder in modern times. He has the blood of thousands on his hands. So I find the request from the prosecution for a 40-year term of imprisonment as missing the point for many Cambodians. It doesn't seem just or proportionate, and I think many people here will simply not understand why he won't be serving 12,000 life sentences (let alone facing a death sentence). I'm aware that in cases of this nature, the prosecution has to be realistic based on the sample evidence that can be presented in court, which is a fraction of what he's responsible for, but 40 years, with five years already taken off for being a good boy (and don't get me started on his ludicrous final statement), just doesn't cut the mustard with me, and many others.