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Cambodia’s era ends as last living Khmer Rouge leader loses genocide charges

Its legacy is a mixed bag of very limited success, according to Sophal Ear, a Cambodian-American academic and associate dean of Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“Is some justice better than no justice? Of course. Three convictions worth hundreds of millions of dollars? This is a $200 million question.”

“As a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, I have been undoubtedly incredibly fortunate and prosperous, and I feel sorry for all those who were irreparably harmed by not having the same opportunities as I did. I am thinking of

He said the court had “won a little bit of justice at a very high price” but was in danger of being overshadowed by the retreat of democracy and human rights in Cambodia, a de facto one-party state.

“The Cambodian authorities have told the international community to manipulate the courts to increase the number of prosecutions, venues, [a military base] And endless restrictions on the extent to which it can be brought to court,” he said.

“For survivors and families of victims, not just individuals like me, but in fact millions of people, much of what is happening in Cambodia today encourages and fosters impunity. Every day is a day when justice is denied simply because it is about things. Corruption, lack of accountability and injustice are all hallmarks of Cambodia today.”

After surviving imprisonment under Khmer Rouge rule, Chum Mei leaves the court after seeing the verdict.credit:APs

Countries such as the United States, Japan, and Australia, which contributed more than $40 million, helped cover the costs of the courts.

Despite the cost, it was a worthwhile process, Jan Bogges of the University of Sydney said Thursday.

“I had to do it,” he said. “It took a long time and was very expensive, but what we have to consider is not how much it costs, but accountability and transparency.

“It’s very important to get to a point where people can actually know what happened and how it happened. For me, the cost is irrelevant. The result is what matters.”

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San Juan, the former head of state of the Khmer Rouge government, sat for the last time on the court dock on Thursday, wearing a white jacket and face mask and listening to the verdict through headphones.

He had been convicted in 2018 by a United Nations-backed court of a catalog of other crimes, including genocide, murder, enslavement and forced marriage.

But even before that, he was serving a life sentence, serving a separate conviction for crimes against humanity related to mass disappearances.

Therefore, his fate was sealed regardless of the outcome.

“Whatever you decide, I will die in prison,” he said.

with AP

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Cambodia’s era ends as last living Khmer Rouge leader loses genocide charges

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