Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Khmer Rouge Trial Begins

On Tuesday, the first trial of a high-ranking member of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge began in Phnom Penh. This article from today's New York Times discusses the first defendant, Kaing Guek Eav, who ran the Tuol Sleng prison and torture house. There are four additional Khmer Rouge officials who are set to stand trial, but their trials may not begin until next year. Yale has a good website devoted to the Khmer Rouge Genocide Tribunal, a body which is somewhat controversial. According to the Times, the tribunal "includes Cambodian and foreign judges and prosecutors in an awkward legal compromise that has drawn criticism from human rights advocates and legal scholars. The chief concern is that the Cambodian members of the tribunal will not be independent of their government's political agenda. ... Foreign and Cambodian analysts say the government, fearing that a widening circle of defendants could reach into its own ranks, wishes to limit the number of those being tried, harming the tribunal's credibility." However, others feel that "a flawed trial would be better than no trial at all."

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