Thursday, April 7, 2011
Human Rights activist Theary Seng raised the hackles of some of the international community this week by jumping the gun, in their view, and lodging a civil party application in Case 003/004 and naming Meas Muth and Sou Met, two of the five people believed to be under investigation by those tasked with finding out incriminating evidence at the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia, or the ECCC to you and me. The two former KR chiefs have not been charged hence the shouts of "premature' and "irresponsible" from the legal peeps at the ECCC. Hot on her heels, Rob Hamill, whose brother Kerry died at the hands of the torturers of Tuol Sleng, has done the same, with particular emphasis on Meas Muth, who was commander of the Democratic Kampuchea Navy when Kerry Hamill was captured in August 1978 off the coast of Cambodia. Hamill, the former New Zealand Olympic rower, gave powerful testimony at the recent trial of the S-21 prison chief, Duch and recently returned to try and get a face-to-face interview with the man who is currently appealing his 35 year sentence. The ECCC is pretty close to starting case 002, the trial of the four highest ranking surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, whilst Cases 003/004 will be the next strata of the leadership, if they ever get off the ground amid political dabbling and inertia. Meas Muth and Sou Met were military commanders and members of the DK Central Committee, just below the senior level, which allowed them to implement party policies and there is compelling evidence of their direct involvement in the arrest and transfer of cadre within their divisions to S-21 for execution. Muth was also the son-in-law of the infamous one-legged military chief Ta Mok. On the subject of the hapless foreigners taken to Tuol Sleng, I am currently reading the excellent Foxy Lady by Dave Kattenburg. It's a fascinating chronicle of the lives of the 11 'Western' victims at S-21, focusing on Canadian Stuart Glass, who never made it to Tuol Sleng as he was murdered on the boat, Foxy Lady, at the same time as two of his shipmates were captured by the Khmer Rouge and taken to the former Phnom Penh school. It also charts a parallel timeline, that of the DK leadership and the involvement of Duch, head of the S-21 prison. I'm half-way through and it's tough to put down.