Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Was Justice Served for the People of Cambodia?

via Khmer NZ

Published July 27, 2010
by:Kristy Salivera

Former Khmer Rouge Official Sentenced to Serve 19-Year Prison Term

Kaing Guck Eav, the Secret Police Chief of the Khmer Rouge's deadly regime, was sentenced to a mere 35 years for reported war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include the murders of as many as 14,000 people, including the executions of 160 children in a single June day in 1977. The report, filed by Douglass Gillison, went on to conclude that the man, who is referred to as Duch, his revolutionary name, will be given credit for the 11 years of detention he has served since his arrest in 1999.

Similar Sentences for Similar Crimes?

The War Crimes Tribunal handed down a very similar sentence to Bosnian-Serbian Major-General Radislav Krstic, who was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the murders of some 7,000-8,000 men and boys. For anyone who is interested in doing the math, that works out to less than two days of prison time for each of the victims who were killed during the conflict. As many as 21 others were also indicted in that tribunal case in regard to atrocities in Srebenica, and 161 in total were indicted in relation to the former Yugoslavia. Of them, seven were convicted, four trials are ongoing and one remains at large as of June 2010, according to a ICTY-TPIY press release. Of those convicted, Kristic was given one of the stiffest penalties with his sentence of 35 years. Others have been given sentences of between 13 to 19 years in prison for their part in the crimes.

Will This Sentence Help the Cambodians Recover?

The people of Cambodia are still living with the reminders of the vicious Khmer Rouge regime, including those who managed to escape with their very lives during the height of the atrocities. For those people, it might seem like nothing more than a slap on the wrist for one of the most vicious mass murderers in history, and a slap in their own face as well. What makes the minimal 35-year sentence even more paltry is the fact that Duch will be potentially eligible for parole in as little as 12 years under Cambodian law. Theoretically, that could leave this man, the murderer of little children, serving little more than seven more years in prison, after counting his time served and parole awarded as soon as he is eligible. For just the murders of the children in a single day, Duch will serve less than two days in prison. How could that ever be considered justice for the people of Cambodia?

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