The Khmer Rouge Tribunal and Victims’ Voice

Posted by khmernews on October 30, 2007

Kampong Thom: “I think that the establishment of the tribunal for the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders is good because Cambodia will have the “true” rule of law, the people will get justice and the younger generation will not follow [the leadership of the Khmer Rouge].”
This is the voice of Mr Kim Visoth, deputy director of Kompong Thom’s Department of Education, Youth and Sport. Kim Visoth is a witness who knew about the Khmer Rouge plan to mass kill people in May 1977 during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, and he has already revealed it recently. It was the most tragic acts that the Khmer Rouge brought their “own people” in trucks from villages to kill without having done anything wrong. He said that he was the only survivor among 24 “17-April” teenagers who had been evacuated to the village he had been living in. He could survive only since the village’s chief loved him and tried to conceal his background and sent him to live in a plantation far away from the Khmer Rouge commune cadres. The secret killing plan was revealed by the village’s chief to him in order that he would be careful.

Kim Visoth said that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was right to arrest and detain Nuon Chea and Duch. “Indeed, Nuon Chea said he did not know [about the killings], but I don’t think being the president of the National Assembly, he knew nothing,” he said.

61-year-old Som Chhom, who is a vendor at Kompong Thom’s car and bus station, has spent nearly 30 years bringing up her 5 children after her husband was killed without any reason during the Khmer Rouge regime. Her life in the Khmer Rouge regime was a harrowing story. “The sufferings were beyond ‘suffering’, and justice depends on the one who says it,” she said concerning the Khmer Rouge tribunal, adding that because she now went to pagoda she could not say anything more than that. “The one who did it will be the one responsible for it,” she added.

A French journalist has recently traveled to Chi Youk village, Kompong Chen Tboung commune, Stoung district, Kompong Thom province, where Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was born and where his relatives are living in. The journalist was disappointed since when he asked children in the village, they said they did not know about the Khmer Rouge regime. And when he asked, “Have the senior people in the village told their children about the Khmer Rouge regime?” They answered abruptly, “No, never.” Old people in the village do not often talk about the Khmer Rouge regime directly.

Keu Michiel is a teacher in Chi Youk village and is living near Duch’s family’s house. “I am satisfied with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal,” he said. “However, the villagers don’t like talking about the Khmer Rouge regime since it could affect the feeling of Duch’s relatives who are living in the village,” he added.

Keu Michiel once said, “As a teacher, I always tell my young students about the Khmer Rouge regime.”

So far, genocide has happened in around 10 countries throughout the world, but no genocide is ever like that in Cambodia. They usually killed people directly while in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime, the Khmer Rouge maltreated, starved, and tortured people before they killed them.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 15, #4418, Wednesday, October 24, 2007.


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