Thursday, March 3, 2011

Appeal dismissed

Christopher Howes - the appeal by his killers was thrown out last week
I'm chasing my tail at the moment, so I'm late in reporting that the appeal by the 4 former Khmer Rouge cadre, convicted for the 1996 murder of British deminer Christopher Howes and his assistant Houn Hourth, was thrown out by the Appeal Court here in Phnom Penh last week and the verdict and sentences handed down to the 4 guilty men in October 2008 will stand. The city's Municipal Court convicted the four of the kidnapping and murder of Howes, and his Khmer assistant Hourth in March 1996, also ordering three of the convicted men to pay $10,000 in compensation to the widow of Hourth. A fifth suspect was acquitted. The guilty verdicts and 20 year jail sentences were handed down to Khem Nguon, who was known to be the 2nd in command of the Khmer Rouge forces at Anlong Veng, Loch Mao, who witnesses identified as the man who shot Howes, and their driver Puth Lim, who admitted being present at the murder and to burning the body. A fourth defendant, Sin Dorn was found guilty of kidnapping the deminers and received a ten year jail term. A fifth man, Chep Cheat was acquitted of his roll in the kidnap.
A statement from Howes' sister Patricia Phillips, said her family welcomed the verdict of the court. “My father Roy Howes and I had hoped with all our hearts that the sentences handed down by the Municipal Court would be upheld, and we are both hugely relieved to hear that the men convicted of killing my brother Christopher and his friend Houn Hourth remain in prison today,” she stated. I've personally studied this case for a long time and I too was relieved to hear the appeal court's verdict though I was disappointed not to hear anything about any decision on the level of compensation for the widow of Hourth. You can read more about the former Mines Advisory Group deminer, Christopher Howes and the facts, and fiction, behind the case, here.

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