Hybrid Court’s Representatives Calm People In Pailin

Posted by khmernews on February 1, 2008


So Socheat, Khieu Samphan’s wife, has reacted to the arrest of her husband by saying that up to the present her husband is still an “innocent” and that the Khmer Rouge tribunal has not found any evidence to put burden on her husband yet. So Socheat claimed so after the Khmer Rouge tribunal held a forum for talks with government officials, people and former Khmer Rouge cadres in Pailin in order to explain them about the process of the former Khmer Rouge trial. So Socheat continued to say that although her husband had been the State Presidium President in the regime, he was only a powerless, nominal leader. “[Regarding] the trial of my husband, up to now I haven’t seen any evidence that shows he is a “murderer”… I haven’t seen ones,” she said.

“So Socheat, Khieu Samphan’s wife, has rights to say, but the Khmer Rouge tribunal performs its tasks in accord with its legal procedure,” said You Bunleng, Cambodian Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Co-Investigating Judge. […]

“As the first step, we have met approximately 100 officials, armed forces and Pailin’s local authorities,” You Bunleng said yesterday after a talk with former Khmer Rouge cadres in Pailin, adding that there was also cooperation from the Ministry of Interior which made it easy for the mission. “The people who participated in the forum asked many questions they doubted about the process of the Extraordinary Chambers. We can see that there is a good process which can make them understand this task,” he said. “In the other step we’ve also disseminated information to more than 100 people to understand our work since we need to observe the area. Therefore, we want the people to understand in order to strengthen more participation in cooperation because we want to accelerate the court and finish it as soon as possible. And we cannot lack the support of the local authority and the cooperation from the people,” said You Bunleng, adding that for these reasons the court conducted the visit.

“If we talk about the Pre-Trial Chamber, it is different from the Trial-Chamber. The Trial Chamber is the whole court. For the Pre-Trial Chamber, we talk about the appeals against the hearings of the Co-Investigating Judges. However, a lot of people are doubtful about the trial, the process and the expense which is facing shortfalls. Therefore, they are brave to ask questions and we are happy to answer,” said You Bunleng.

“Generally, we have not seen any reaction yet. However, the people want to see the tribunal run faster. They wonder why the investigation stage has taken so long. Some people said that the court should try the top leaders who had made mistakes. They have different points of view, but it does not mean their view is against the Khmer Rouge court,” noted You Bunleng.

Concerning the arrest of the five senior Khmer Rouge leaders, You Bunleng said that only few people have made reaction to the arrest.  “In general, the people have made no reaction to the arrest. But some expressed their opinion that the court which does not cover the death of people who died of bombing during the war time, for example, is not fair,” he said. “Some former Khmer Rouge cadres are concerned that there will be arrest of low-ranking officials, but we have already explained them that the law states clearly about the level of the senior leaders and those most responsible. We want to allay their fears,” added You Bunleng.

It should be reminded that Khieu Samphan was the fifth suspect, arrested in Phnom Penh on November 19, 2007 by the Extraordinary Chambers after he was flown by helicopter from Pailin for health treatment in the Calmette Hospital.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Sralanh Khmer, Vol. 03, #603, Friday, January 18, 2008.


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