Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited a former Khmer Rouge torture house in Cambodia on Monday and urged the nation to proceed with trials of the former regime’s surviving leaders in order to “confront its past.”
On a visit to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, during a seven-country tour through Asia that has already taken her to Vietnam and China, Mrs. Clinton called for the strengthening of democratic institutions and for greater tolerance of opposition views.
“It’s a very disturbing experience,” she said after a visit to Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng prison, where more than 14,000 people were held before being sent to their deaths in a killing field. “And the pictures — both the pictures of the young Cambodians who were killed and the young Cambodians who were doing the killing — were so painful.”
The commandant of that prison, Kaing Guek Eav, was sentenced to 19 years in prison last July in the first part of a United Nations-backed trial of leading figures of the Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people between 1975 and 1979.
A second trial involving the four most senior surviving leaders has been expected to follow, after they were formally indicted in September. But Prime Minister Hun Sen, who once said that Cambodia should “dig a hole and bury the past,” has said that he would not allow any additional prosecutions beyond those four.
Mrs. Clinton repeated an argument that has been used by proponents of the trials, saying that “a country that is able to confront its past is a country that can overcome it.”
To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/world/asia/02cambo.html?_r=1&ref=asia
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Tuol Sleng prison, where more than 14,000 people were held before being sent to their deaths in a killing field.
Source photo: Chor Sokunthea/Reuters http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/world/asia/02cambo.html?_r=1&ref=asia