RealNews

Pol Pot's soldiers escape justice for genocide

Sam Serey does not look like a stereotypical perpetrator of crimes against humanity. Shuffling around the potholed roads of the southern Cambodian district of Phnom War in a grubby shirt, ripped shorts and bare feet, this grey-haired, 55-year-old farmer appears more deserving of sympathy than hatred. But he admits that for more than 20 years he was a member of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s Maoist movement which was responsible for the genocide of more than 1.7 million people while it held power from 1975-79. “I was just a simple young man who joined to help the king after he was overthrown,” he claims by way of explanation for why he volunteered in 1970. “I never knew what it really meant to be a member of the Khmer Rouge until many years later.” Sam Serey, who lives in a Khmer Rouge veterans’ community, is willing to talk because after six years of international negotiations he now knows he will escape justice. The jurisdiction of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, agreed by the UN and Cambodia, is to be limited to “senior leaders … and those most responsible for the crimes [the regime committed]”. So, hundreds of footsoldiers, such as Sam Serey, now live without fear of a trial. Full Story

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