Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Former Khmer Rouge stronghold finds out more about tribunal

Days after four Khmer Rouge leaders were indicted on charges of genocide and war crimes, some of the tribunal's senior staff went to the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin to explain the court's purpose.

All four of the Khmer Rouge leaders indicted less than a fortnight ago used to live in this small town near the border with Thailand.

In fact, most of Pailin’s residents have a strong connection to the Khmer Rouge movement that devastated this country in the 1970s.

The UN-backed tribunal, which is based in Phnom Penh some 400 kilometers by road from here, says the Khmer Rouge movement is responsible for 2.2 million deaths from execution, starvation, overwork and illness during the movement’s rule of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.

Indicting the surviving leaders is one way of trying to punish some of those believed responsible for what happened.

Pol Pot blamed for the crimes

Unsurprisingly, the tribunal is not popular in places like Pailin.

Some people claim that Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge’s former leader who died in 1998, was solely responsible for the crimes the movement committed. This was a message repeated by Mey Mak, a deputy governor of Pailin, and a former secretary for Pol Pot.

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6049666,00.html

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