Well-known survivors of Tuol Sleng and nearly 40 other victims of the Khmer Rouge regime have publicly called on the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s victims unit director to explain her associations with Marxism-Leninism, an ideology they say they associate with the Pol Pot regime.
Defense lawyers and NGOs have this month called for the removal of Helen Jarvis, who took over the tribunal’s victims unit on June 1, saying that her government affiliations and political views made her unsuited to the job.
In a June 14 letter to Ms Jarvis, which was sent to the media Wednesday, signatories, including S-21 survivors Chum Mey and Bou Meng, said they shared similar concerns.
“We all have one concern and disagreement, because she had helped the leftists based on what she told us on Sunday,” Bou Meng said by telephone. “And from that we are worried we could become victims of the left again,” he said.
Sunday’s letter asked of Ms Jarvis, “How can you lead us, who are the victims of Leninist ideology?”
Bou Meng and Chum Mey said Wednesday that they had asked Ms Jarvis about this during a June 14 meeting at the offices of Legal Aid of Cambodia.
Chum Mey said the letter had been inspired by a civil party whose mother had collapsed during Tuesday’s hearing as the court discussed how her husband had died.
“We want [Ms Jarvis] to explain about her loyalties to the ECCC,” Chum Mey said.
Ms Jarvis said Wednesday she would communicate with the letters’ signatories privately and not through the media.
“I am talking to them directly and I don’t intend to talk through the press,” she said.
Lawyers for Nuon Chea earlier this month drew attention to a 2006 statement by an Australian political group known as the Leninist Party Faction, which was signed by Ms Jarvis and 50 others.
The signatories expressed disdain for “bourgeois” laws and approval for “extreme measures” during revolution.
Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said he could not comment on private communications not officially addressed to the tribunal.
Earlier this month, Deputy-director of Administration Knut Rosandhaug public expressed confidence in Ms Jarvis.