One aspect about the trials of top officials in the despotic Khmer Rouge regime that I have not addressed so far are the problems of corruption and cronyism with the U.N. and Cambodians who put the court together. The reason for that is there has been limited reporting on the issue, so I don’t understand it as well. But today in the Wall Street Journal‘s Asia edition, Killing Fields survivor Sophal Ear — an assistant professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California — explains:
I can no longer in good conscience sit back in silence and watch this theater of the absurd. As with so many other donor-financed projects, the Tribunal—set up in 2006 to bring justice to millions of Khmer Rouge victims—has been mired in an endless stream of corruption and mismanagement allegations.
The latest news came on August 11, when Uth Chhorn was named to the court as an independent counselor. Mr. Chhorn is Cambodia’s auditor-general and heads the seven-year-old National Audit Authority, which is supposed to audit the government’s activities. It has yet to make a single report public. His appointment was sanctioned by the United Nations, which manages the court alongside the Cambodian government.
Sophal goes on to list several other problems, including the hire of an Australian Marxist as head of the victims unit for the court. And there are also the standard kickbacks and run-of-the-mill corruption. Not surprising considering that many in the Cambodian government were once in the Khmer Rouge themselves.
Those awaiting trial are in their final years of life, and others who are culpable will finish out their lives without fear of punishment. After 30+ years since Pol Pot’s reign, justice for the victims must be left in God’s hands. There’s just no other way around that.
The offer renews after one year at the regular price of $10.99 monthly.