The old and withered man, adorned in what looked like an oversize tea-cosy and sunglasses, seemed an unlikely mass-murderer when he appeared in court for the first time on June 27th. That is often the way with people brought to justice long after their alleged crimes were committed.
Four former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of genocide go on trial in Cambodia on Monday before a U.N.-backed tribunal amid charges of political meddling in the investigation of other cases.
While visiting home in 2002, Rajendra Tharu awoke in his parent's house surrounded by childhood classmates. They had not come to welcome him back. Since finishing school, Tharu had joined the police; the others, from the same farming village in Bardiya, had become supporters of the Maoist revolutionaries fighting against the government.
A decade-long civil war claimed thousands of lives. More than four years after it ended, though, official silence means some families can’t move on.
Rewind a decade, and disgraced British glam rocker Gary Glitter led a cast of foreign pedophiles whose presence in Cambodia made it infamous as a refuge for child-sex offenders. A campaign has made strides in fighting Western -- but not local -- offenders.
The term genocide has been used freely by Cambodians and foreign observers alike in reference to the atrocities committed during the Khmers Rouges’ ultra-Maoist revolution. But the tribunal, started in 2007, only introduced this monumental charge at the end of last year.
Rights groups and former detainees say it's rife with unlawful detention and physical abuse that masquerades as rehabilitation. The government denies the charges.
On July 26th the ex-teacher, Kaing Guek Eav, became the first Khmer Rouge official to pay for his part in the genocide of 1975-79, when some 2m people died: a UN-backed tribunal convicted him of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and jailed him for 35 years.
The tribunal has suffered from delays, weary donors, and claims of grave corruption and political meddling. But human-rights groups say Duch’s sentence represents a measure of hope: he is the first, but hopefully not the last, to be punished for the genocide.
The math teacher-turned-revolutionary betrayed little emotion as a judge read a statement saying that the coercive climate in which he followed orders, matched by his expression of remorse and cooperation with the tribunal, warranted a lesser sentence than life in prison. Victims and their families are dismayed.
Almost 16 years after Australian backpacker David Wilson was kidnapped and killed in Cambodia by a Khmer Rouge militia, the Australian government is resisting fresh demands for full disclosure of the case file on his death.
The term genocide is often used reflexively to describe the Khmer Rouge's rule of terror that led to the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians from overwork, starvation, and murder from 1975 to 1979. It was not, however, one of the charges former Khmer Rouge leaders had faced in the three-year-old U.N.-backed war crimes...
The trial of Khmer Rouge prison commander Comrade Duch underscores the difficulties of such an endeavor in a country with a reputation for corruption and a compromised judiciary.
A former Khmer Rouge prison chief who presided over the torture of about 15,000 prisoners who were later executed astonished observers of Cambodia's first genocide trial Friday by asking judges to release him because he had already served enough prison time and arguing that he shouldn't have been prosecuted in the first place.
While there is no substitute for Brother Number One, as Pol Pot was called, Cambodians may yet find some closure this week as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia hears closing arguments in the trial of the Khmer Rouge's top jailer — a blank-faced former math teacher who now wants to formally apologize...