China Donated $1,000M to the Khmer Rouge Regime Before 1979
Posted by khmernews on February 25, 2008
After almost 30 years following the fall of the Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, the hope for justice of the surviving victims seems to begin to glimmer through. However, the delayed process of the tribunal has come under strong fire. Up to the present time, five former Khmer Rouge leaders and those most responsible for the regime remain behind bars awaiting the trial of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Yet, it is not sure whether the trial which has been planned to get underway in June 2008 will be able to start.
Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), collecting documents and evidence of the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime for 10 years for the special tribunal, claims that “evidence” is not a problem for the court. “For the Cambodian side, corruption has always been the case which creates obstacles to block the process of the trial. For the UN side, problems such as bureaucracy, expanded work, and delay have become the norm in every international court,” criticised Youk Chhang. He said that the DC-Cam has given the Khmer Rouge tribunal 30,000 pages of evidential documents that the court can use them officially.
Lao Monghay, senior researcher of the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, acknowledges that the practice of the legal procedure does take a long time in a court which employs the international standards. However, he blames…..some countries such as China and Vietnam, which stayed behind the Khmer Rouge regime before and after 1979.
“The conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam might have created “spies”. The charged people such as Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan might have known about the presence of those Vietnamese spies or agents in Cambodia,” said Lao Monghay.
Lao Monghay claimed that China had given a donation of $1,000 million to Democratic Kampuchea before 1979 and another $1,000 million after 1979 in order to fight against the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. Currently, China is giving loans to Cambodia more than donations while both the donations and loans greatly influence the politics of Cambodia.
Reach Sambath, Khmer Rouge tribunal’s spokesman, has overruled the “allegations” and explained the efforts made by the Co-Investigating Judges. He claimed that the “real” trial of former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, charged with crimes against humanity, will be held in June 2008. “We cannot explain all the judicial process. We cannot tell how many people and where we have interviewed nor can we tell who they are. We can only say that we are working everyday and we have done a lot,” said Reach sambath.
Chea Leang, Cambodian Co-Prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, claimed about the discovery of Nuon Chea’s responsibility for Democratic Kampuchea by the Co-Investigating Judges. “On April 19, 1976, Nuon Chea was appointed president of the Standing Committee of the People’s Representative Assembly. From September to October, 1976, Nuon Chea was the acting Prime Minister. Nuon Chea was appointed to be in charge of party’s actions such as social affairs, culture, military and education. Nuon Chea led the internal and “external” structures and coordinated the S-21 Security Center and other zones.
According to Reach Sambath, the Khmer Rouge tribunal will continue from 2008 through 2011 by spending up to $170 million. The original budget was $56.3 million over 3 years from 2006 to 2008.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal was established after a tough negotiation between the Cambodian government and the United Nations from 1997 [to 2006]. At first, the United Nations wanted the court to use the international court system while the Cambodian government insisted on using the national court system, which the public lacks confidence on its independence and transparency.
Eventually, the two sides agreed on mixing the Cambodia’s court system with international standards of justice to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. Then, the Co-Judges and Co-Prosecutors started their work in mid-2006. It cannot be said what obstacles the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia is going to face next since it has so far gone through many of them.
The obstacles the Khmer Rouge tribunal has already faced include the disagreement on the Internal Rules between Cambodian side and the UN side, the admission fee of the Cambodian Bar Association, the denial of Nuon Chea’s defence lawyer, Victor Koppe, to represent his client in the appeal hearing on February 4, 2008, and the presence of the civil parties in the hearings of Nuon Chea, which has made the Pre-Trial Chamber spend a lot of time to discuss the legality of those civil parties or victims.
The national and international communities want the trial of the jailed former senior Khmer Rouge leaders to begin soon to catch up with those late people so that in the dock they can reveal the truth of the mass killings during the Khmer Rouge regime. In contrast, if it is still delayed, those ageing former senior Khmer rouge leaders might die before the trial takes place as their health conditions are deteriorating now. Therefore, the United Nations and the Cambodian government are obliged to make the trial possible soon and not to make the great expenditure become useless.
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, vol. 15, #3387, Thursday, February 14, 2008.