Target: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen
Goal: Stop delaying war crimes trials of former Khmer Rouge officials
Ieng Sary, a former senior official of the Khmer Rouge, recently died in a Phnom Penh hospital. The former Khmer Rouge official was currently on trial for crimes against humanity and other Khmer Rouge-era war crimes before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Nevertheless, Ieng Sary’s death marks yet another moment where a high-ranking Khmer Rouge official has escaped justice and responsibility for the Cambodian Genocide, which killed a quarter of the nation’s population.
From 1975 to 1979, Ieng Sary acted as the Khmer Rouge’s foreign minister. During that time, under the leadership of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, and others, the regime implemented a systematic string of social and agricultural programs, resulting in the genocide of more than 1.7 million Cambodians. As a former Permanent Member of the Khmer Rouge Standing Committee, Ieng Sary directly oversaw the formulation and implementation of Khmer Rouge-era policies. Furthermore, he administered the purge of ministry officials, as well as oversaw the execution and torture of countless others. Ieng Sary has also defended Khmer Rouge policies in UN speeches. Similarly, he’s also blamed the thousands who were executed and tortured for treason for the ultimate results of the Genocide.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has acted as a major force working against the interests of those who wish to see justice brought to these former Khmer Rouge officials. He has prolonged the indictments, trial, and formation of a tribunal in order to advance the interests of former Khmer Rouge officials who secretly hold high-ranking positions within the ruling party—or the People’s Party of Cambodia. After more than six years since the judicial process began, only one former Khmer Rouge official has been convicted, and two others, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, remain on trial. Furthermore, the main figurehead behind the regime, Pol Pot, died in 1998 after being granted asylum by Thailand and China.
The time has come for Prime Minister Hun Sen to cooperate with UN leaders and stop impeding the efforts to bring these war criminals to justice. Hun Sen must also suppress the efforts of Cambodian judges and prosecutors who are attempting to block the indictment and arrest of five other suspects who have been identified as Khmer Rouge-era war criminals.
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
The recent death of Ieng Sary—before he could be found guilty of war crimes during the Khmer Rouge-era—marks another injustice for the Cambodian people. The UN and other independent agencies have spoken on your unwillingness to move the Tribunal forward. In the six years since the judicial process began, only one former Khmer Rouge official has been convicted for war crimes that led to the Cambodian Genocide.
Approximately 1.7 million Cambodians, a quarter of your nation’s population, died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979. The former Khmer Rouge officials who you are now protecting helped formulate and oversee the purge of government officials for treason, the agricultural policies that led to mass starvation, as well as the social engineering programs that encouraged the Cambodian Genocide.
Please bring an end to this needless obstruction of justice. The men and women responsible for the Cambodian Genocide must face trial in a timely, efficient, and just manner as to prevent former officials from escaping justice. The Cambodian people deserve to see justice. Please end the unnecessary delay of these Tribunals and immediately seek cooperation with the UN.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons