Opinion

What I said then, what I think now: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Progress has been lamentably slow, but a decade on, benefits can be seen in Cambodians learning this terrible history.

Maynard Keynes’ frequently quoted observation about changing his mind when the facts change is too simple a basis for explaining why I have come to think about the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (The Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC) in a more nuanced fashion than was the case ten years ago in an Interpreter article, “Cambodia: Glacial justice”.

For the circumstances or facts about which I wrote critically in 2009 still have relevance. After three-and-a-half years of operation, the tribunal had not brought down a single judgment, which meant that at least partially Hun Sen was achieving his aim of “burying the past”.

At the broadest level, the core fact remains that the tribunal’s progress has been lamentably slow as I argued ten years ago. Since the tribunal was established in 2007, verdicts have been handed down in relation to only three individuals: Duch was convicted of crimes against humanity in 2010; Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were both convicted of crimes against humanity in 2014, and subsequently of genocide in 2018.

In full: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/what-i-said-then-what-i-think-now-khmer-rouge-tribunal

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