By Brad Adams
The New York Times, 31 May 2012
“I not only weaken the opposition, I’m going to make them dead ... and if anyone is strong enough to try to hold a demonstration, I will beat all those dogs and put them in a cage.”
Often overlooked in discussions about the world’s most notorious autocrats, on Friday Hun Sen will join the “10,000 Club,” a group of strongmen who through politically motivated violence, control of the security forces, massive corruption and the tacit support of foreign powers have been able to remain in power for 10,000 days.
. . .
ECCC Debacle Should Provide Pause for Reform of International Justice
(Complete letter submitted, unedited)
7 June 2012
I write to register several comments to the Post’s article Investigation Flawed: 004 Suspect’s Lawyers.
First, Ta An could not have a better international lawyer representing him in Richard Rogers, who not only has deep experience in international law but in Cambodia. I remember his commendable work as the legal consultant for the Center for Social Development, when I was its director beginning in 2006, before he went on to become deputy and then chief of the ECCC Defense Support Section. Ta An will get his fair trial rights protected—whatever that means at the ECCC—if Richard can help it—or, for that matter, in the high-powered game of international criminal law as we know it now.
And it is to this latter point that I want to focus my next comment: fair trial rights in the politically high-stake, professionally high-powered, institutionally high-priced, individually high-minded and self-righteous international sphere of mass crimes and genocide are illusory at best, nonsensical at worst.
The international criminal law system is broken and in need of reform, starting with how we employ fair trial rights.
National Criminal Justice System
The set of fair trial rights as we know them, employed in the international sphere of mass crimes and genocide, are imported wholesale from the national court system.
The first problem of this wholesale import of fair trial rights is one of rationale. In a domestic criminal justice system, immense measures for the protection of the individual—“fair trial rights”—are marshaled to counter-balance the massive resources of the State.
In this regard, the rationale is to provide the defending party (oftentimes an individual not versed in law) with rights to shield against the potential abuse by the prosecuting party, which is the State in the common law, and the imperial investigating judge in civil law, with overwhelming resources (including high legal technical expertise) and state power.
The raison d’etre for each fair trial right principle then should be viewed through this lens of resource/power imbalance concerns.
In arming the individual with all these immense, substantial fair trial rights in the domestic justice system, the rationale is best reflected in William Blackstone’s maxim when he wrote that "the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer." According to this maxim, no one ought to be punished, lest an innocent person be punished.
The rationale and concerns do not have the same resonance for former head of states and military leaders now finding themselves as defendants of international tribunals.
The second problem is related to the first in that the set of fair trial rights privileges the defense in the international sphere. These rights may be reasonable in the national court system, but the wholesale import of them is a slap in the face of victims when these rights are employed in cases of mass crimes and genocide.
To state the obvious, the case in a domestic justice system is infinitesimally simpler in scope and issues, with little or no political/geo-political considerations and the victims are limited to a few individuals. The cases of genocide and war crimes are of a different nature and scope not adequately, and at times not appropriately, addressed by the domestic fair trial rights principles.
By way of illustration of the inadequacy and inappropriateness, let’s look at a few fair trial principles, which have been accepted as an article of faith in international criminal law, within the context of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Presumption of Innocence
In April 2011 in this newspaper, I had raised the illusionary relevance of the well-known presumption of innocence principle in the ECCC.
I had lodged a complaint alleging serious criminal charges against Meas Muth and Sou Met of Case 003 and Ta An, Ta Tith and Im Chaem in Case 004.
I was then, am now not the only victim, but one among millions with the same right to make public allegations about our injuries and claims.
The problem with mass crimes is that they produce majority victims in the minority public with the right to speak publicly about their claims. And their claims are based not only on personal experience but substantiated by the countless testimonies of other victims and innumerable, legitimate publicly available information which have accumulated over the years, e.g. in Cambodia, the 35 years of the publications by world-renown historians and researchers, in well-respected international newspapers, journals, books, films.
Then, the ECCC Public Affairs—an international lawyer—accused me of “mere speculation” with “no basis”, and violating the presumption of innocence principle. Basically, besides mistaking our role as “victim”, he was asking me and other victims to suspend our reason, logic and knowledge of these materials relevant to our cases as well as the substantiating testimonies of other victims who make up the majority of the population.
The problem with the wholesale import of the presumption of innocence principle from the domestic sphere into the international context is one of confusing the right of mass victims with obligations of the court officials and minority unaffected public; this is not a simple murder in the local neighborhood by which the presumption of innocence principle is to be viewed through a very narrow local lens without incorporating the countless distinguishing factors associated with mass crimes of international renown.
Other examples of Misfits from the ECCC
The equality of arms principle states that defense counsel and the prosecutor should have equal status. At the ECCC, serious allegations have been raised against the collusion, even if only the perception of it, of Judge Silvia Cartwright and International Prosecutor Andrew Cayley, in their ex-parte communication.
The right to an independent and impartial tribunal has been egregiously violated too persistently, consistently, continually, and well-documented and spoken about that it’s unnecessary for me to dwell on it here.
The right to legal counsel is glaringly violated for Meas Muth, Sou Met, Ta Tith, Im Chaem (and Ta An, until recently but then not without obstacles as Richard’s appointment is being blocked by Office of Administration and the Defense Support Section).
The right to call and examine witnesses has been ignored, in particular for the defense in its constant calls for political leaders, (Chea Sim, Heng Samrin, Pol Saroeun, Sim Ka, Henry Kissinger, Vietnamese leaders) to give testimony at the ECCC.
The right to remain silent is not appropriate for international war criminals as we want them to speak. One of the goals of international criminal justice is reconciliation and the creation of a fuller historical record. As such, it requires the testimony of these political and military leaders. Moreover, their testimonies work to satisfy to a degree the victims' demand for justice. The domestic rationale for this principle does not hold in the international sphere.
Roles of Victims as Civil Parties
The vision and legal incorporation of victims as a party in the criminal proceeding is commendable and should be retained for future international criminal proceedings. But it is greatly, greatly in need of restructuring and reform. One of the necessary reforms is to abolish the Lead Co-Lawyers scheme which is legally nonsensical. I will reserve more comments on the role of victims as civil parties for a follow-up commentary in the future as it requires more space than this article can provide.
In sum, the debacle that is the ECCC should provide the necessary pause for all of us to rethink international criminal law, in particular the relevance of the wholesale importation of domestic fair trial rights into it.
Since the Nuremberg Trials, and the re-explosion of international law in the 1990s, we have enough experiences and lessons now to rethink and re-structure the international justice system to deal better with mass crimes to reflect and realize the beautiful language and ideals of justice, reconciliation and victim participation.
Why? Because the existing system is unworkable and many times nonsensical, as the principles and concepts culled from the domestic justice system do not fit the scope and issues unique to mass crimes in the international sphere.
Theary C. Seng is an American-trained lawyer who is the founding president of the CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education, and the Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia
. . .
The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 2012
. . .
. . .
COURAGE curriculum training at Indrisanvarak Pagoda
Sunday, 27 May 2012
. . .
Sacravatoon, May 2012
Another Judge Jumps Ship
Who will be next?
Khmer Democrat in KI-Media, 17 May 2012
. . .
The International Herald Tribune, 12 May 2012
THE international commotion around the blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng aroused memories of earlier dissidents like Andrei D. Sakharov and Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the Eastern bloc heroes of another age who first made “international human rights” a rallying cry for activists across the globe and a high-profile item on Western governments’ agendas.
All the familiar elements were there: the lone icon speaking for moral principle against totalitarian rule, the anonymous but courageous network at home that sheltered him, the supporters abroad who rallied around his cause, and the governments that made their choices based on a difficult calculus of moral ideals and geopolitical interests . . .
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights — which Peng-Chun Chang, a representative of Nationalist China, helped draft — had virtually no impact on world politics in its time. It was only 30 years later that Soviet dissidents and refugees from Latin American dictatorships catapulted human rights to visibility. In part because it was so new, the idea of international human rights initially seemed an uncontroversial effort to establish moral norms above the fray of the cold war’s ideological battles . . .
However, since the time Amnesty International and other groups popularized those phrases, human rights — a term that once meant the defense of individuals against the oppression of an unjust state — has come to imply other things, too.
Today, it is just as likely to be invoked by powerful states to wage war in distant corners of the globe, much to the chagrin of authoritarian leaders in wealthy rising powers like Russia and China, who see such “humanitarian interventions” as a violation of states’ sovereignty — not to mention a threat to their manner of rule . . .
. . .
CIVICUS Cambodia, a partner of the
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights,
Speak Truth To Power
(Courage Without Borders)
Curriculum Training for Teachers, Provincial Authority, Monks
Sunday, 6 May 2012
in northern Svay Rieng Province,
the ancestral village of CIVICUS Cambodia president
More photos and info at
. . .
My letter Farewell to a Brave Judge translated, published in The Phnom Penh Post Khmer, 8 May 2012
. . .
Press Release by the International Reserve Co-Investigating Judge
4 May 2012
. . .
AFP, 5 May 2012
A judge at Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal on Friday accused several colleagues of interfering with controversial investigations into new cases, in a parting blow before leaving the country.
Swiss judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, who rocked the UN-backed war crimes court in March when he became the second judge to quit in protest at alleged political meddling, said in his last statement he had worked "in a highly hostile environment".
. . .
Farewell Laurent Kasper-Ansermet;
Farewell Decency, Honor, Character, Justice
Commentary by Theary C. Seng
The Phnom Penh Post, Friday, 4 May 2012
Today, Cambodia will suffer a great loss in the departure of International Reserve Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.
It is a loss with significant implications, and not only for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and for cases 003 and 004.
The departure of Kasper-Ansermet has far-reaching consequences for Cambodia's larger, post-genocide society and our struggle to embed justice and combat impunity.
We are in shock over the cold-blooded murder of environmentalist Chut Wutty, but we should not be surprised.
We tend to think of the coarse impunity in an ethereal way because of its prevalence in this society.
That means we speak about it, and react to it, in a limiting and narrowing manner based on our compartmentalizing it into our respective fields of work – be it in rule of law, environmental protection, human rights, or politics.
As we compartmentalize impunity, we also stratify it among the local authority, the military and the national leadership.
There also exists an unspoken stratification between domestic and international spheres.
The international community is considered above the fray, despite it being a main actor in shaping the news and the agenda, and in funding the NGOs, the government, the ECCC, and democracy.
But, as we all know, impunity would not be the spreading cancer it is if the international community did not enable it with its billions and its deafening silence in the face of sustained, outrageous acts of injustice.
So there is a very short, straight line between what happened to Chut Wutty, Chea Vichea and other victims of military violence of recent days and what is happening at the ECCC.
And that short connecting line is impunity.
If Meas Muth, Sou Met, Im Chaem, Ta Tith, Ta An can get away with the murder of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians, what’s the big deal with doing away with one union leader? Or one activist in the forest?
And what is impunity but the persistent, habitual negation of justice, the license to do harm, the freedom from punishment, the exclusion from responsibility, the exemption from accountability, the arrogance and the assurance that one can get away with murder?
Impunity is the societal norm in Cambodia. And this norm, empowered by countless billions of dollars from the international community, is encouraged by the current leadership and suffered by the common people.
What are we to do?
Well, we -- both Cambodians and the international community -- can start by supporting and encouraging more individuals like Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.
What are we doing when we support him?
We are saying we stand for decency, honour, character, justice – the virtues and elements missing in this society, the real weapons against impunity (not all the billions of yen, euros, dollar, yuan).
To the contrary, in the words of C. S. Lewis: “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function.
"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.
"We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
What are we to do?
We need to be reminded that justice is neither impartial nor neutral. Justice sides with the innocent; it gives preferential treatment to the poor and the oppressed, the widows and the orphans, the weak and the vulnerable.
As a Jewish proverb puts it: “It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.”
What are we to do? We can all practice what the political theorist Hannah Arendt called an “enlarged way of thinking”.
Or what Yale theologian Miroslav Volf calls “double vision”, when we “enlarge our thinking by letting the voices and perspectives of others, especially those with whom we may be in conflict, resonate within ourselves, by allowing them to help us see them, as well as ourselves, from their perspectives.
"Nothing can guarantee in advance that the perspectives will ultimately merge and agreement be reached. We may find that we must reject the perspective of the other.
"Yet we should seek to see things from their perspective in the hope that competing justices may become converging justices and eventually issue in agreement."
What are we to do?
We must understand that impunity is power gone awry. We must redeem power in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , who said: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”
Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, you are truly a rare saving grace of the whole "international community" in Cambodia and correctly bear the title "Honourable".
Thank you for your efforts and work here. Your term was brief, but more meaningful than another’s full-term stay, and you leave a legacy of character and decency that we greatly need and desire.
. . .
Meas Muth, Sou Met among ‘most responsible’: judge
The Phnom Penh Post, 3 May 2012
Suspects in government-opposed Case 003, former navy commander Meas Muth and air force commander Sou Met, are among those most responsible for the crimes committed during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, the office of the co-investigating judges decided on Tuesday.
The decisions were stamped by international reserve Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet alone, without the seal of his Cambodian counterpart.
The decisions also symbolize the final judicial acts of Kasper-Ansermet, who steps down from his office tomorrow.
He quit the court in March citing egregious dysfunctions within the ECCC [...]
. . .
The Phnom Penh Post, 27 April 2012
. . .
Foreign Policy, May/June 2012
Name me an Arab country, and I'll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt -- including my mother and all but one of her six sisters -- have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating "virginity tests" merely for speaking out, it's no time for silence...
Just as regime-appointed clerics lull the poor across the region with promises of justice -- and nubile virgins -- in the next world rather than a reckoning with the corruption and nepotism of the dictator in this life, so women are silenced by a deadly combination of men who hate them while also claiming to have God firmly on their side...
SO WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
First we stop pretending. Call out the hate for what it is. Resist cultural relativism and know that even in countries undergoing revolutions and uprisings, women will remain the cheapest bargaining chips. You -- the outside world -- will be told that it's our "culture" and "religion" to do X, Y, or Z to women. Understand that whoever deemed it as such was never a woman.
. . .
Interview with the Shoah Foundation
at the University of Southern California, July 2011
Photo credits: USC Shoah Foundation Institute; photographer Kim Fox
. . .
Any friend of Kerry Kennedy is a friend of mine, here with Karen Seitz (FCC Phnom Penh, 20 April 2012)
. . .
On behalf of the Phnom Penh arts community and Khmer Exiled Americans we request the pleasure of your company at Champions of Change, too a V.I.P. dinner and award ceremony in honor of “My Asian Americana” by Studio Revolt 2012 Winner of the Public Vote For The White House “What’s Your Story” Video Challenge Contest
**Award presented by H.R.H. Soma Norodom
Monday April 2, 2012
. . .
PRESS RELEASE BY THE
You Bunleng accused of serious violation,
professional misconduct and breach
28 March 2012
The International Reserve Co-Investigating Judge, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, disputes all of the confused allegations contained in the press release dated 26 March 2012 by the National Co-Investigating Judge, You Bunleng. . .
The obstruction that he has encouraged and openly admitted to in the conduct of investigations in cases 003 and 004 amounts to professional misconduct and is a breach of the Internal Rules, the Law and the Agreement. An equally serious matter is Judge You Bunleng publicly naming one of the investigators in charge of several ongoing investigations. . .
. . .
The straight path to TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE in Cambodia?
March 27, 2012, International Herald Tribune (Paris, France)
Nate Thayer, a journalist and author with deep knowledge of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, also has a deep disdain for the tribunal, which he told me Tuesday was “an insidious, dangerous mockery of the rule of law that sets an unacceptable new model for legitimizing a 21st-century version of a Stalinist show trial.’’
Mr. Thayer might well have invented the modern journalistic practice of embedding: He traveled with the guerrilla resistance after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, living rough, fording streams, camping in jungles. In 1997 he scored a major scoop: an interview at a remote Khmer Rouge camp with the fugitive Pol Pot.
His interview for the Far Eastern Economic Review was the first with the former “Brother No. 1” in nearly 20 years. At the time, Pol Pot had already been denounced by his followers. He was in failing health, and died the following April.
. . .
to the Parties on the
Within the ECCC
Impeding the Proper Conduct
of Investigations in Cases 003/4
21 March 2012
. . .
The Honorable Kasper-Ansermet, you are truly a rare saving grace of the whole of the "international community" in Cambodia and bear correctly the title "honorable".
- Theary (Michigan, 20 March 2012)
Press Release from the
International Reserve Co-Investigating Judge
19 March 2012
. . .
The Phnom Penh Post, 1 March 2012
What part of
is not understandable?!
I am amused that this Eccc (pronounced "icky") the Clown continues to consider me a civil party when I at every turn since November 2011 have publicly, loudly, categorically denounced it as "FARCE!" "SHAM!" "JOKE!"
when I withdrew all legal associations from Eccc the Clown
. . .
Rifts at KRT Over Case 003, 004
The Cambodia Daily, 1 March 2012
They also said the investigating judges had erred by refusing Ms. Seng and other civil party applicants access to the case file, and ordered that she be allowed to re-submit her application.
"The efforts of the CIJ Kasper-Ansermet and of the UN judges in the Pre-Trial Chamber in pushing for cases 003 and 004 vis-a-vis my and Rob Hamill's applications are honorable, but they are not enough to redeem the integrity and legitimacy of the ECCC," Ms. Seng said in an email yesterday.
. . .
. . . . .
Life term for Cambodia
Khmer Rouge jailer Duch
There are dissenting voices. Theary Seng, who leads the Association of Khmer Rouge Victims, saw the life sentence as an attempt to make Duch the sole scapegoat for all the atrocities committed by Pol Pot's government.
. . .
. . .
. . .
KR tribunal suffers crisis of funding
DPA, 10 Feb. 2012
Prominent court critic and Khmer Rouge survivor Theary Seng said, "We are experiencing the rolling momentum of the weight of these crises to the tipping point of sham."
She said the tribunal's legitimacy was now "beyond restoring".
. . .
Cambodia genocide court to pursue more Khmer Rouge
Kasper-Ansermet's bid to reopen the investigation was the "fresh breath of U.N. air we have been demanding," Theary Seng, a Khmer Rouge survivor and an advocate for victims, wrote to msnbc.com. She noted his "unexpected assertiveness regarding his pursuit of the political(ly) controversial cases 003/4," which she alleged were "expressly blocked by the government."
"The U.N. and the Cambodian government are heading for a showdown because of the unexpected flexing of muscles by the U.N. vis-a-vis the Cambodian government," she added.
. . .
. . .
A Life Sentence for 14,000 Deaths
One Cambodian human rights activist, Theary Seng, told Al Jazeera that she thought the life sentence for Duch was part of a government ruse to protect the remaining members of the Khmer Rouge hierarchy: “They want him to be the scapegoat,’’ she said, “for the whole Khmer Rouge regime.’’
. . .
9 News (Australia), 7 Feb. 2012
"The devil is in the detail," said human rights activist Theary Seng of the judicial split.
"It feeds into my fear that this was really a political decision to make Duch the scapegoat for the whole regime," said the campaigner, who lost her parents under the regime.
"We're only starting to chip away at the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge era. Duch should not be made the face of the Khmer Rouge regime," she said.
. . . . .
Miranda Leitsinger, 3 Feb. 2012
... Theary Seng, who survived the Khmer Rouge regime and is an advocates for victims, said though she agreed with Duch's life sentence since it matched the gravity of his crimes, she was disturbed by the chamber's decision to overturn the lower court's acknowledgment of his confession, cooperation and illegal pre-trial detention.
"The legal implication carries dangerous consequences for the Cambodian national court system in the embedding of fair trial rights and due process, especially on the violation of pre-trial detention rights which is an abhorrent and pervasive problem in the national court system that we want (to) change in our society," she wrote in an email to msnbc.com.
She also noted that the life term, while appeasing the emotional sentiments of victims in handing out the most extreme sentence, had aligned with the Cambodian government's efforts to make Duch, "a small fish" in the regime, the "sole scapegoat."
"I am extremely disturbed because today's final closure on one case involves a man who was not a senior KR leader; Duch was the director (of) one prison, among 200 KR prisons. Where I was detained as a child (at age) seven, DCCam (the Documentation Center of Cambodia) estimated 30,000 were believed to have been killed there, including my mom," she said. "But this and similar other prisons will never get a hearing."
. . . . .
Exploitation and Disempowerment of Victims at the KRT
Issues of Reparations
Phnom Penh, 6 February 2012
. . .
. . . . .
The Khmer Rouge Tribunal in the Dock
In Search of Truth and Justice
Phnom Penh, 1 February 2012
“Truth is a pre-condition of justice. Justice is necessary for shalom (which is peace that is more than the absence of conflict but entails the presence of justice. The KRT is full of deceit. Deceit can never turn into justice, no matter how sophisticated the spinning; but to the contrary, it can turn even more dangerous when with UN insignia.”
Victims v KRT
Mini-trial 1: Victims v RGC
Mini-trial 2: Victims v UN
. . . . .
Theary C. Seng
Letter to the Editor, The Phnom Penh Post, 27 Jan. 2012
. . .
Article 28, Agreement between UN and Cambodia
Should the Royal Government of Cambodia change the structure or organization of the Extraordinary Chambers or otherwise cause them to function in a manner that does not conform with the terms of the present Agreement, the United Nations reserves the right to cease to provide assistance, financial or otherwise, pursuant to the present Agreement.
The Case against the ECCC
. . . . .
Open Letter to Reporters and Commentators
"Civil Party" vs. "Witness"
By Theary C. Seng, Founding President
Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, 13 January 2012
. . .
The New York Times / The International Herald Tribune
Seth Mydans,12 Jan. 2012
"Among others who have returned and stayed are Ou Virak and Theary Seng, prominent advocates of a U.S. brand of human rights and civil society, which at this point fits a little awkwardly with Cambodia’s strong-arm form of government."
. . .
My commentary on
"January 7 and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal"
Opinion Page of The Phnom Penh Post, 11 Jan. 2012.
"Another UN Failure"
Bethany Mandel, 7 Dec. 2011
. . .
Here, if the commie regime censors KI-Media...
. . .
Looking for Entrepreneurs to Develop Poetic Justice Products for Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia.
Dart Game Set includes:
* 54-page educational booklet (click here for complete booklet)
* 5 colorful darts
* dartboard with image of war criminal Pol Pot already mounted
* 5 additional war criminal images
** Each Dart Game set sells for US$7.00.
Please contact Ms. Sivnin at 017.993.118.
. . .
de Volkskrant: You feel personally offended, don't you?
Theary: How can I not?! The honor of my father and mother is at stake. My dignity is at stake. I can speak as a lawyer on a professional level, but this is a deeply personal issue for me. I am both within and without... I am highly offended when the UN is effectively telling me, telling the other victims that all we, the poor Cambodians, deserve are the crumbs of justice... The UN is embedding all the dark mentalities we want to change in this society - the mentality of low expectations, the mentality of fear, the mentality of inferiority, the mentality of impunity, the mentality of cynicism... And yes, I agree with the opening statement of Nuon Chea's lawyer--the indictment of this ECCC--minus all the references to Nuon Chea, the one that was never made but sent out as a press release... I believe that guilt is not zero-sum; that is to say, Kissinger is guilty and his guilt does not absolve the guilt of Nuon Chea; he's still directly, personally responsible...
. . . . .
and Civil Party Withdrawal
in the News
Ex-leader: Khmer Rouge atrocities are 'fairy tale'
AP Newswire, 23 Nov. 2011
"I'm not surprised that Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary continue to deny their crimes as the charges against them of genocide, war crimes are very serious," said Theary Seng, a Cambodian lawyer and human rights activist who lost family members under their regime.
"Even if I am not surprised, I am however disgusted by their lack of remorse for the suffering they caused. They are delusional in their denial in light of the weight of evidence against them - the mounds of skulls and bones, the horrific testimonies from every survivor of cruelty, the magnitude and scope of evil unleashed by them across the whole of Cambodia."
. . .
"Khmer Rouge trial is failing Cambodian
victims of Pol Pot's regime"
Human Rights Watch Brad Adams' editorial
The Guardian, 26 Nov. 2011
. . .
Douglas Gillison, Foreign Policy Magazine, 23 Nov. 2011
. . .
Deputy President of Victims Association, a Civil Party of the Orphans Class, Mr. CHEY Theara, Withdraws Civil Party Status, Denounces ECCC as Political Farce
Full statement in both Khmer and English in KI-Media.
Here, if ISP censors in Cambodia.
. . . . .
Wall Street Journal, 21 Nov. 2011
“The release of Ieng Thirith is only one reflection of how incredibly late these trials are coming into place,” said Theary Seng, founder of the Cambodian Center for Justice and Reconciliation and herself, too, a victim of the Khmer Rouge regime, having lost her parents and spent five months in prison. She has withdrawn from the tribunal process, and instead put her energy into organizing public games of darts featuring the faces of the Khmer Rouge leaders along Phnom Penh’s riverfront – a “way of release” following victims’ frustrations with the trial process, mixed with “dark humor,” she said.
But the trial - a joint enterprise between the UN and Cambodia - has been heavily criticised. Theary Seng, whose parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge, said putting three people on trial for the deaths of 1.7 million simply wasn't enough. (BBC News, 21 Nov. 2011)
BBC News, 21 Nov. 2011
. . .
AFP, 21 Nov. 2011
Khmer Rouge survivor Theary Seng told AFP she was "frustrated beyond words" that only Khieu Samphan looked likely to shed light on what happened. "The people want to know who is behind the Khmer Rouge, we want to see and understand the larger picture and we're not going to get that," she said.
From Tragedy to Sham in Cambodia
Others have gone further, arguing that the time might be ripe for the UN to pull the plug on the controversy-plagued court altogether. Last week, Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime and a prominent advocate for victims' rights, withdrew her status as a civil party to the court, describing the proceedings as a "complete sham".
She said the UN should threaten to withdraw after setting some clear conditions for its continued participation. By pressing ahead, Seng said, the world body runs the risk of rubber-stamping a flawed process and further embedding cynicism in the Cambodian population.
"I understand the unwieldiness of any large bureaucracy, but at the end of the day it comes down to personalities, and there have been extremely weak personalities," she said. "In this regard, the UN is complicit."
In the End, Loss of Faith in Tribunal: Former Complainant
Hello VOA Special with Theary Seng, 16 Nov. 2011
DPA, 15 Nov. 2011
VOA International/English, 15 Nov. 2011
The Phnom Penh Post, 16 Nov. 2011
Theary Seng Denounces Tribunal; Introduces Dartboard Scheme
The Cambodia Daily, 16 Nov. 2011
. . .
More information at "ECCC Civil Party"
More information at Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia
Theary Seng Criticizes KRT
as "Political Farce"
Radio Free Asia (both AM and PM broadcasts on 10 Nov. 2011)
Cambodian-American Lawyer Withdraws her Civil Party Status
* * * * * *
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