Khmernews

Concerns Voiced Over Coming Arrest of Ieng Sary

Posted by khmernews on November 12, 2007

Chan Chamnan

Observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have expressed their concerns over the future arrest of other three former Khmer Rouge leaders to the tribunal, after news has leaked out that Ieng Sary, former deputy-prime minister, foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime, is living outside Cambodia for the treatment of his illnesses.
According to a source from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the tribunal had been about to issue the warrant for the arrest of Ieng Sary last week, but it was failed because Ieng Sary had been reported to be staying outside the country for the treatment of his illnesses.

However, Reach Sambath, spokesman to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, has overruled the news, adding that former Khmer Rouge leaders including Ieng Sary had claimed many times that they were ready to testify at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Ieng Sophy, Ieng Sary’s daughter, once claimed in the name of her father that Ieng Sary’s foreign visit was not related to his arrest, but that he was visiting abroad for the treatment of his illnesses. However, the absence of Ieng Sary has worried the observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal since it was sometimes said that Ieng Sary had arrived at Cuba, a country in the America. Moreover, it is not yet known where exactly Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith are at present.

To date, only Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former chief of Tuol Sleng (S21) prison, and Nuon Chea, former president of the National Assembly of the Khmer Rouge regime, are being detained awaiting trial at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The first public hearing of Duch will be held soon in order to decide whether Duch can be released on bail or not.

National and international observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are examining this issue very carefully whilst the tribunal is being spoiled by corruption.

Other three suspects who will be brought to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal soon are thought to include Ieng Sary, former deputy-prime minister, foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime; Ieng Thirith, Ieng Sary’s wife, former social affairs minister of the Khmer Rouge rigime; and Khieu Samphan, former president of the Khmer Rouge State Presidium. Amongst the three former Khmer Rouge leaders, Khieu Samphan has been ready to be summoned to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, whilst Ing Sary and Ieng Thirith are living abroad and not known when they will return to Cambodia.

Some NGOs’ officials say that the arrest of Ieng Sary to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will not be an easy task since former king Norodom Sihanouk has given him a royal pardon.

Several months ago, Ieng Vuth, Pailin’s deputy municipal governor, son of Ieng Sary, told a local newspaper that the government would give justice to his parents. His claim has made the public think that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is under the political influence and that it cannot give justice to Cambodian victims. Moreover, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is moving very slowly and facing many obstacles, especially the budgetary shortfalls which might bring the tribunal into deadlock.

Former Khmer Rouge leaders have been condemned for mass killings of estimated 1.7 million Cambodians during their reign of terror from April 17, 1975 to early January, 1979. Cambodians living inside and outside Cambodia want the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders to get underway soon so as to reveal the masterminds and reasons of the atrocities during the Killing Fields regime.  Especially, they want to know whether Vietnam was related to the Khmer Rouge regime like what Khieu Samphan, former head of state of the Khmer Rouge regime, has claimed or not.

Observers of the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal say that the trial of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders must be held as soon as possible because if it is still delayed some more former Khmer Rouge leaders who are very old may die before the trial takes place. Therefore, the United Nations and the government of Cambodia must urge the trial to happen soon.

Analysts say that the concerns expressed over the arrest of Ieng Sary to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are reasonable because where exactly Ieng Sary and his wife are living is unknown. Moreover, the tribunal, which has been spoiled by corruption, seems to be under the political influence too. This is the reason why the United States does not fund the tribunal, as they do not have faith in it.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 14, #3305, Wednesday, November 7, 2007.

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