What Ukraine can learn from the Khmer Rouge trial

As Ukraine seeks justice for crimes committed by Russia, Cambodia could offer lessons — and cautionary tales.

On September 23, the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh orally affirmed the convictions against Khieu Samphan, Cambodia’s former head of state, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It also confirmed his life sentence, and followed up with a written verdict on December 23.

That decision has ended the tribunal’s judicial work. Now, as it winds down after spending 16 years investigating and prosecuting the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge, its experiences offer valuable lessons on how best to secure justice in the current conflict that’s shaking the world’s conscience: Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Khmer Rouge was a Maoist-inspired movement that devastated Cambodia during its brutal four-year rule from 1975 to 1979. The tribunal had the challenging job of investigating events spanning the entire territory of Cambodia over several years and adjudicating some of the most serious crimes known to humanity. It accomplished these tasks, bringing about one of the few convictions of a head of state since World War II. And it did so with an extensive in-person outreach programme that involved hundreds of thousands of Cambodians.

In full: https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/12/24/what-ukraine-can-learn-from-the-khmer-rouge-trial

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