Thursday, March 02, 2006

For Some KR Victims, Time has Run Out

<>Letter to the Editor
<>The Cambodia Daily
<> Thursday, March 02, 2006

By Dara P Vanthan, Deputy director in charge of outreach, Documentation Center of Cambodia

We were in shock when we reached Khset village in Prey Veng province’s Kampong Ro district and learned that Bong Seang and Thoang Diek, who we invited to visit the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, which is the official name for the Khmer Rogue tribunal, had passed away.

We also learned that two others invited to visit the chambers, Khun Mot from Prey Veng district and Thoang Kaing from Prey Kabbas district, in Takeo province, had also passed away before the visit. The four were among some 400 people who were invited to the court last weekend. One of the visitors to the courtroom asked trial coordinator Sean Visoth on what date the trial will begin. Sean Visoth, as director of the office of Administration and Executive Secretary of the Royal Government Task Force, could not answer this question clearly. It left participants feeling frustrated.

I understood the complexity of the court’s proceeding, but the visiting villagers need more explanation. Many in the courtroom voiced their concerns that aging Khmer Rouge leaders might die before the trial happens, as befell Pol Pot in 1998 and Ke Pauk in 2002. It is a real concern. It is also important that we should not forget the deaths of the four Khmer Rouge victims who were invited to take part in the weekend visit to the court but passed away without seeing the court and witnessing justice being done. Bong Seang, Thoang Diek, Khun Mot and Thoang Kaing will never know that their country and the international community are working to find justice for them.

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