Survivor’s Impatience over Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
Words & Photography by Michael Klinkhamer. © 2013
“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal has so far failed to deliver little as any justice for the victims of the Pol Pot regime. If they fail to reach a verdict those who established the tribunal should be ashamed.” Says Mr. Chum Mey, 81 years old.
Chum Mey personifies the tormented history of his country, surviving the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.
At the age of 47 he was dragged blindfolded into the Tuol Sleng prison, secret code name:S-21, where he was beaten and underwent electrocution for 12 days. At this Tuol Sleng Prison, 12.000 people, man, woman and children were chained and tortured for day’s, weeks, sometimes months in order to tell anything their tortures wanted to hear. As a final reflief for their almost always wild fantasy confession of counter-revolutionary work for the CIA or any wild organsation they never heard of. The only reward for their “confession” was to be murdred at the killing fields.
Only a handful people survived he Tuol Sleng Prison. Chum Mey was one of them, because of his skills as a mechanic, he was ordered to repair the typewriters of his torturers used to record their forced confession.”I think about it every day, how lucky I was to survive.”
“All the Khmer Rouge surviving victims and their families have regulary demanded the The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, officially named ECCC- (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) to speed up proceedings. In contrast we, the victims have lost hope as the court has delayed the process. When asked, Chum Mey reflects his disappoinment for the years and years of hardly any justice done to convict the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge. With about $173 million dollars spend so far the court has little to show for any sense of justice at all. Since 2006 there has been only one conviction. Sentencing, Chum Mey’s former prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, to life in 2012 for overseeing the deaths of some 12.000 people at the notorious Tuol sleng interrogation centre, S-21.When I ask him what he feels about that verdict? Chum Mey; ”At least I was able to look my torturer in the eye. Many victims have also reached high age and are plaqued by ill health. Therefore, we wish to see a broader verdict and recognition of the horrible atrocities that we had to endure under the Khmer Rouge.”
Last week ‘The smiling Murderer’, An Leng Sary died in prison but not before he could be brought to justice. Under his rule as foreign minister serving KR leader Pol Pot. An estimated 1.7 million people died under their murderous KR regime between 1975-1979. What is left now is only two old defiant man standing trial. Khieu Samphan, 81 years old and ‘Brother Number Two, Nuon Chea, aged 86. Both man have suffered strokes and are in frail condition. Will they live to see judgement day?