Monday, July 26, 2010
My Brother and I in front of the entrance of ECCC
Duch’s Verdict on 26/7/2010
I just came back from the delivery verdict of AING Guek Eav, also known as Duch at ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia). First, I want to acknowledge and congratulate all the distinguished members of the ECCC both from Cambodia and from many countries for the achievement and contribution in bringing the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to present day. Despite the difficulty and intricacy in the past, there has been huge amount of work accomplished through the professional effort and collaboration of all involved.
In the court chamber, I personally witnessed the hybrid justice proceeding live with more than 500 people, most of them are victims. It was a moving experience and historic event for all the victims to wait more than 30 years to finally having some sort of justice. Duch was convicted of intentional murder, torture, rape, crimes against humanity and sentenced to 35 years. Moreover, according to the decision, he actually serves 19 years in prison because he has already spent 11 years in detention and got another five more years credit for cooperating with the court.
After today’s judgment, as a victim I am doubtful that most Cambodian understands and accepts the reasons of these credits. There still are many unanswered questions for the national and international victims but this piece of justice is at least the first step toward the truth, admission of guilt, perhaps reconciliation and healing. At the end, I think that the ECCC provided the truth of the mass killings but failed to satisfy the survivors’ emotional feeling with the shortening of Duch's prison term. Justice for the Khmer victims was not completely and fully served. More works and right understanding of the victims’ side must take into full consideration if ECCC wants to put a closure on finding real justice, end impunity, and promote national reconciliation.