Prosecutors Describe Khmer Rouge Leaders’ ‘Organized and Systematic’ Atrocities – NYTimes.com

A glimpse inside the nature of Khmer Rouge evil:

In an almost daylong presentation, Ms. Chea Leang, the co-prosecutor, asserted several times that the atrocities she described were part of an “organized and systematic” bureaucracy with a “high level of integration” that kept the defendants constantly informed of the actions of their subordinates at all levels.

“These crimes were committed in accordance with the Communist Party center,” she said. “The accused participated in the giving of these orders or were fully aware of the crimes. They failed to act in their capacity as superiors to prevent the crimes or to punish the perpetrators.”

via Prosecutors Describe Khmer Rouge Leaders’ ‘Organized and Systematic’ Atrocities – NYTimes.com.

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4 thoughts on “Prosecutors Describe Khmer Rouge Leaders’ ‘Organized and Systematic’ Atrocities – NYTimes.com

  1. Speaking of gross atrocities, the commission of inquiry on Syria just released its report. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/17/docs/A-HRC-S-17-2-Add1.pdf . Beware: it’s gory.

    From what I recall, there has been a lot of criticism over this court, mainly with the fact it has taken so long to get to trial, and the lag is disallowing the people of Cambodia from healing and moving on. However, in circumstances so atrocious, I think one has to take active steps to resolve an issue before one can move on. The grieving process takes time, and it requires communication and action. Doing something, however drawn out, is better than doing nothing.

    On an international level, I think this is a major step forward in international criminal prosecution. It may not be perfect, but the court is taking action, and it will hopefully set precedence that can be used in future crises. I think it’s particularly interesting that they are basing the court on a national level than using the ICC or creating an international tribunal. It will be interesting to see whether this impacts the effectiveness of the court overall.

    As for the opening statements: Kudos to the prosecutor for telling the story. In opening statements, you aren’t supposed to argue, and the most effective statement you can give is a story. By telling what happened in a concrete, coherent way, the prosecutor made major steps in winning the case.

  2. marcelsan says:

    I agree with Julie’s statement that slow action, is better than none but fast action is better. How asinine that a group of men can orchestrate the deaths of millions upon millions of people and claim innocence! As I read the article, it occurred to me how long the people of Cambodia have been waiting for justice, and it made me wonder what kind of closure the trial could bring after so long. This is a prime example of the atrocities which can happen in the absence of accountability, and I think the international community failed the Cambodian people. Following WW2, the Convention on Genocide in 1948, the international community made a firm proclamation against genocide, which in practice has been less than rock solid. Genocide continues to this day among non-white, non-European populations.

  3. cecillyrose says:

    As we look at countries which have had dark pasts, we oftentimes overlook that the problems which are blamed on the bureaucracy were given birth from the sentiment of everyday citizens. While Syria has been brought up, we can look from Cambodia to Syria and now take a look at atrocities such as those in Rwanda. This hatred of another type of people (be it politically, religiously, or ethnically-based) breeds from “normal” people. Yes, the governing body either allows or disallows this hatred to continue, but I think in every sense, a higher body of government allows it to occur if no proactive action is taken AGAINST such crimes.

    In this NYTimes article, two men are convicted for assisting during the Rwandan genocide. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/world/africa/rwanda-two-convicted-in-genocide.html

    International bodies such as this International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda should have say over its citizens. So, whether a communist center or a citizen center, all atrocities are born from some type of “normal” difference among citizens.

  4. ahoward93 says:

    I am really glad that this trial is finally underway. It is upsetting to find out what a few people can do to so many, but it is even disturbing to realize that they only way to deal with the issue is to wait till its over. Almost all events fizzle out before the international community deals with them. If only there was something that could be done? I guess you could try to get another convention or treaty through but normally that doesn’t stop people. If your going to commit genocide, you’ll do it regardless of your treaty obligations. And you can hide it by making it seem like it was fair or legal. Not much justice in this process. Here are some photos of what these people are accused of doing.

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/postwar-cambodia-missing-arms-legs-fathers-and-mothers/?scp=12&sq=Khmer%20Rouge%20trial&st=cse

    I just wish there was more we could do.

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