History wars in Cambodia By Milton Osborne 23 August 2013
The post-election standoff continues in Phnom Penh. This week's visit to Cambodia by the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi ('to further the bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries') underlines the salience of the comment by Youk Chhang, the respected head of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam): 'Cambodia is caught between the tiger, China, and the crocodile, Vietnam, and needs to find its own ground'. (read more)
ECCC Trial Chamber Endorses Proposed Case 002 Victim Reparation Projects “In Principle” August 12, 2013 By Anne Heindel, Legal Advisor – Documentation Center of Cambodia
The Trial Chamber has announced that the Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyer’s (LCLs) proposed reparations projects in Case 002 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) are appropriate for addressing victims’ harm and “in principle” will be endorsed.However, implementation is not assured, as the Court’s approval remains contingent on the uncertain ability of the LCLs and the Victims Support Section to obtain Government support for some projects, specify additional details for others, and—most problematically—identify sufficient funding for all projects by the end of September. (read more)
Au Cambodge, le changement ambigu proposé par Sam Rainsy Tribune des droits humains 7 juillet 2013 par Anne-Laure Porée | Infosud
Dans un pays gangréné par la corruption, l’impunité, la pauvreté, les conflits fonciers, Sam Rainsy, figure de l’opposition depuis près de vingt ans, a fait campagne sur « le changement ».
Un slogan qui a électrisé nombre de déçus par le pouvoir en place, nombre d’ouvriers, dont les salaires, parmi les plus bas d’Asie, engendrent un quotidien difficile, ainsi qu’une large frange de la jeunesse, qui n’a jamais connu d’autre gouvernement que celui conduit par l’actuel Premier ministre Hun Sen. (read more)
EXPERIMENTS IN INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE: LESSONS FROM THE KHMER ROUGE TRIBUNAL
By John D. Ciorciari and Anne Heindel May 24, 2013
Forthcoming, Michigan Journal of International Law
A number of important legal and institutional experiments have been undertaken at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a UN-backed tribunal established to try some of the most egregious crimes of the Pol Pot era. The ECCC is the first UN-supported hybrid criminal tribunal to mandate a majority of national judges and to divide key legal and administrative offices and funding mechanisms into distinct national and international sides. It also draws more heavily than any prior internationalized mass crimes process from the civil law tradition, including expansive roles for investigating judges and an ambitious mechanism permitting certain survivors to join the proceedings as civil parties. These experimental features—most of which were accepted reluctantly by the United Nations during difficult negotiations with the Cambodian government—have sometimes compromised the ECCC’s capacity to conduct fair, expeditious proceedings and carry out its administrative functions efficiently and transparently. This article traces some of the effects of the ECCC’s unique institutional features on various aspects of its performance and draws lessons that can help inform the design and management of mass crimes proceedings going forward.
Genocide Against the Cham By Dr. Kok-Thay Eng 15 May 2013
Philip Short's ideas make so much sense: "The difficulty for the Cham was that they had a very identifiable, deeply rooted culture different from that of other Khmers, and [with] Pol Pot . . . the whole of the DK policy was to make everybody equal. (read more)
Ieng Sary at a pre-trial hearing in 2008.
Ieng Sary, Former Official of Khmer Rouge, Dies at 87 By Seth Mydans, New York Times 14 March 2013
Ieng Sary, the former foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge who was one of three elderly leaders on trial on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, died on Thursday in a hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he had been taken from his holding cell. He was 87.
His lawyers said he was hospitalized with gastrointestinal problems on March 4. Mr. Ieng Sary (pronounced yeng sah-REE) had long been treated for heart problems and other ailments. His death was announced by the special tribunal trying him, with United Nations backing.
Mr. Ieng Sary, a brother-in-law of Pol Pot, the top leader of the Khmer Rouge, was part of an inner circle of Paris-educated communists who led the movement, which caused the deaths of 1.7 million people from starvation, overwork and execution during its rule from 1975 to 1979. (read more)
In Cambodia, Panetta Reaffirms Ties With Authoritarian Government
Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times 16 November 2012
SIEM REAP, Cambodia — The United States on Friday reaffirmed its military ties with the authoritarian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, a former Khmer Rouge commander, but Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also warned the country about its long record of human rights abuses. Mr. Panetta, center, toured the temples of Angkor Watt before leaving Siem Reap on Friday. After attending a regional security conference and a separate meeting with Gen. Tea Banh, Cambodia’s defense minister, Mr. Panetta said he wanted to emphasize the support of the United States “for the protection of human rights, of civilian oversight of the military, of respect for the rule of law and for the right of full and fair participation in the political process.” Mr. Panetta was in Cambodia as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia that seeks to bolster military, economic and diplomatic relationships in the region and serve as a counterweight to China’s rising influence. His visit came four days ahead of a planned trip here by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama, who will be the first sitting American president to visit the country. (read more)
Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodian Leader Through Shifting Allegiances, Dies at 89
Elizabeth Becker and Seth Mydans, The New York Times 14 October, 2012
Norodom Sihanouk, the charismatic Cambodian leader whose remarkable skills of political adaptation personified for the world the tiny, troubled kingdom where he was a towering figure through six decades, died early Monday in Beijing. He was 89. The death was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nhiek Bunchhay, quoted by news services. The former king had been dogged by ill health for years and regularly traveled to China for treatment. King Sihanouk was crowned in 1941, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and held on to some form of power for the next 60-plus years. He served as monarch, prime minister, figurehead of the Communist revolution, leader in exile, and once again as monarch until he abdicated in 2004. He handed the crown to one of his sons, Norodom Sihamoni, after which he was known as the retired king, or the king-father. He survived colonial wars, the Khmer Rouge and the intrigues of the cold war, but his last years were marked by expressions of melancholy, and he complained often about the poverty and abuses of what he called “my poor nation.” (read more)
Cambodia wrestles with justice for ex-members of Khmer Rouge
Andrew Higgins 28 September, 2012
ANLONG VENG, Cambodia — Thim Sam, a former Khmer Rouge soldier in a communist revolution that abolished property, profit and even money, has never tried his luck at the casino that opened recently near his home in northwestern Cambodia. He said he’s given up trying to fathom how the wheel of fortune turns.
At least 1.7 million of his compatriots died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, yet just four people have been put on trial for some of the 20th century’s most horrific crimes. At a cafe a few yards from a fenced-off mound of earth said to contain the remains of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge’s murderous leader, Thim Sam said he joined Pol Pot’s forces out of desperation, took no part in the slaughter, and now “wants to forget.”
What to remember and what to forget is a question that torments Cambodia 14 years after the last Khmer Rouge stronghold fell here, on the Thai border. Victims clamor for justice while others, including members of the current government who once sided with the Khmer Rouge, want to avoid a full reckoning with the past.
Struggling to resolve these conflicting interests is a United Nations-backed tribunal set up in the capital, Phnom Penh, in 2006 with a mandate to judge Khmer Rouge “senior leaders” and others “most responsible” for the crimes of a regime that, between 1975 and 1979, killed at least a quarter of Cambodia’s population through executions, starvation and overwork in brutal labor camps. (read more)
Trying the Khmer Rouge regime: A U.N.-backed tribunal is seeking justice for the estimated 1.7 million people who died because of the extremist policies of the Khmer Rouge’s 1970s rule in Cambodia.
BY DOUGLAS GILLISON
THE INVESTIGATIVE FUND
FEBRUARY 27, 2012
The UN's war crimes tribunal in Cambodia is supposed to be free from political influence. But two cases will never see the light of day — because Cambodia's prime minister won't allow it.
In August of 1977, "Ta," or "Grandfather," An, a senior Khmer Rouge cadre, visited a labor camp in Cambodia's Kampong Cham province. An then ordered his subordinates to take all of the local Cham, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority, to "their local bases," according to a witness cited by United Nations prosecutors who also saw An at the camp.
Ten days later, as part of a policy of extermination, a wave of mass killings of the Cham community began in a local district prison. At night, by the banks of the Mekong River, entire villages were emptied. Men, women, and children were marched to the prison where they were bludgeoned to death. The slaughter continued until after midnight.
A loudspeaker played revolutionary songs to cover the sounds of their screams. Small children were murdered by being slammed into tree trunks. Executioners competed to see who could kill the fastest, the same witness said, with one boasting of slaying ninety in an hour. (Read More)