CIVIL RESISTANCE


CIVIC EDUCATION   . . .

Where I go for AGGREGATED news on Cambodia, plus...   . . .           On Dec 26-29, 1979 [by now, Cambodia under one full year of Vietnamese occupation], the musician Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim, the Secre [ ... ]


CIVIC EDUCATION


Has Science Discovered God?     Click to watch this FASCINATING, MIND-BLOGGING video with breathtaking images and you learn science in the process!   Read transcript             God in the Cosmos
Veritas Forum at Yale University  [ ... ]



 

A Love Story


By Theary C. Seng

Theary Seng

 

In celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, I’m going to tell you of a true love story.

This is a story of romantic love, of filial love, and of agape love. Or, in the words of C. S. Lewis, it is a true story involving all the Four Loves: (i) Affection, (ii) Friendship, (iii) Eros/Romance, and (iv) Agape, the unconditional love of God.

It is the true romantic love story of Margaret (nee Betten) and Wallace Boelkins – loved and called by everyone—young or old; family, friends or staff—as “Marge” and “Wally”. It is also a story of their love for me and my family.

Marge and Wally Boelkins
Marge and Wally Boelkins

 

Full story cont'd on KI-Media

 

. . . . .


Theary Seng interviewed by praCh of Mujestic, Jan. 2011

on

MUJESTIC


and KI-Media

 

. . . . .


 

Hello VOA

with Theary Seng

taking calls on Civil Party matters

this Thursday (Jan. 27) at 9 PM (Phnom Penh)


Chum Mey (L), Theary Seng (R)

in KI-Media

 

. . . . .


Encounters of the Evil Kind

Song/lyrics by praCh

Soundtrack for Enemies of the People


. . . . .

 

Excerpt from

Request to ECCC Co-Prosecutors

Andrew CAYLEY and CHEA Leang

to include Civil Party Theary Seng and

12 members of the Civil Parties of Orphans Class

in their List of Witnesses

to testify in Case 002 against the Senior Khmer Rouge Leaders

due Jan. 31 to the Trial Chamber.


Click to read the Excerpt

In KI-Media

 


. . . . .

 

Reconciling Peace with Justice:

Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cambodia

Theary C. Seng

Helmut Stern Auditorium, University of Michigan

7 P.M. Thursday, 13 January 2011

Filmed for broadcast on Michigan public television.

KI-Media



INTRODUCTION

 

I am deeply humbled and honored to be with you this evening in this beautiful Helmut Stern Auditorium of the University of Michigan Museum of Art as part of the celebration of the life of the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in this 25th Annual Symposium entitled “We the People… Realizing the Dream.”


University of Michigan Museum of Art, 13 Jan. 2011


There are several reasons for my excitement to be here with you:


First, 30 years ago, I was catapulted as a child refugee from the squalid camp in Thailand into the heart of Michigan and the heart of its winter. (There’s not enough time tonight to talk about the SHOCKS at every imaginable level!).

Theary Seng at airport, Dec. 1980
Theary Seng arriving with her family into Gerald R. Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids, MI, 24 Dec. 1980).


Second, I am absolutely delighted to be back here in Ann Arbor where I hold fond memories of my 3 years at the University of Michigan Law School.

Theary Seng at the University of Michigan Law Quad, 14 Jan. 2011
Theary Seng in the Quad of the University of Michigan Law School, on her way to interviews for Law School promotional video as well as for Alumni Magazine (Ann Arbor, 14 Jan .2011).


Lastly, I am deeply humbled to be given this opportunity to honor the extraordinary life of a man whose work, faith and passion loomed large in my childhood imagination and whose legacy continues to inspire me in my work for peace and justice in Cambodia.


Thus, I would like to thank Professor Nick Rine, Kate Wright and Charles Sullivan for this wonderful invitation to be here at the University of Michigan, and the sponsors for their support: the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, my alma mater–the University of Michigan Law School, the Cambodia Law Project, the President’s Advisory Board on Labor Standards and Human Rights, and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


Allen Hicken, Theary Seng, Dorasy Paul, Kate Wright\
Dr. Allen Hicken (director Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Univ. Michigan), Theary Seng, Dr. Dorasy Paul (Cambodian-American friend from Theary's law school years who obtained her Ph. D in Anthropology at Univ. Michigan), Kate Wright (program manager at Center for Southeast Asian Studies).

 

RECONCILING PEACE WITH JUSTICE – MLK’s LEGACY

 

My topic this evening is Reconciling Peace with Justice: the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cambodia. Is there a dichotomy between peace and justice? Is it peace OR justice? Or is it, peace AND justice?


Within the next hour, I will give you a tour of the current human rights landscape of Cambodia with a brief glance to the country’s tragic past, and hone in on our efforts to redress this past in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.


And in doing so, I am arguing that justice is an intrinsic element of peace. There can be no genuine peace without justice. The dichotomy of ‘peace’ or ‘justice’ is a false one.


There will be no surprises, I am certain, to hear of the strong resonances and echoes of principles and expressions as eloquently articulated by the reverend Dr. King in how we Cambodians are trying to understand and frame our past and our present for our future, even though I speaking about the happenings of a country on the other side of the world and of seemingly foreign events several decades removed from the American civil rights movement.


In particular, it is this “peace with justice” at the heart of Dr. King’s message and life that is the most resonating and compelling for us. Why? Because I believe it is a message that transcends time, race, ethnicity, creed. It is a human message, a human value of universal yearning. Dr. King only happens to give poignancy and eloquence to it for all of us – us as Americans, us as Sudanese, us as Chinese, us as Iraqis, us as Cambodians.


Hence, if I may edit the symposium title instead to “We the peoples… Realizing the Dream.”


Theary Seng speaking to Svay Rieng villagers, 2007



AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

 

I come from a country mired in disproportions, contradictions and human rights abuses: when a boy steals a piece of bread, he is sent to jail; when a man kills 2 million of his countrymen, he is invited to Paris for a peace conference.


I come from a country where to be an orphan is to be common; where post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cripples the population, currently at 14 million people.


Thirty-five years ago this past April, Cambodia plunged into the abyss of human suffering when the Cambodian communists or “Khmer Rouge” took over and within a matter of 3 and ½ years took the lives of 1/3 of the country’s population or almost 2 million people, including my parents and other relatives. No Cambodian is untouched.


At the age of four, the Khmer Rouge killed my father; three years later in a prison, the Khmer Rouge killed my mother. The Documentation Center of Cambodia estimated 30,000 were believed to have been sadistic murdered at this Boeung Rai Security Center, one of 200 prisons. More than double the lives taken at S-21 (Tuol Sleng).

Boueng Rai (Bung Rei) Security Center, 2010
Some of the 30,000 skulls at Boeung Rai (Bung Rei) pagoda; villagers take these skulls at will to crush into traditional medicine (Svay Rieng, 2010).  Thus, the campaign for PROVINCIAL LEARNING CENTERS / MEMORIALS to be furnished with the physical assets / inventory of the Extraordinary Chambers once it closed operations.


On that last day, the prison guards separated my 3 older brothers to another village; unusual. That last night, three prison guards came back to our cabin; strange, they had already chained and secured the shackles on the ankles of the adult prisoners (save my youngest brother Daravuth and me; our ankles could slip in and out; what’s the use? My job at night was to bring toilet bucket to the other immobile prisoner. We had a mentally insane woman who had cried out “I’m thirsty! I’m thirsty!” and drank from the toilet bucket before I could pull it away from her. Later they killed her by crushing her head with a coconut cruncher.)


Boeung Rai Pagoda (photo: DC-Cam)


The prison guards caught my eyes as I was not yet asleep and immediately left. I turned to my mom and asked her, “Mom, why were those guards carrying wet ropes?” The wetness is to make it malleable for tying. Knowing full well what was to unfold, she quietly answered, “My daughter, go back to sleep.”


I did.


The next morning, Daravuth and I woke up to an empty cell and immediately, convulsively cried and cried and cried; we had awaken to an empty cell before but that morning, it was a different sensation. I felt like a floating frame, as if I have been gutted. As a seven year old, I could make a distinction between the material body and the eternal soul.

Theary Seng, Wally & Helen, Mrs. Andrea Mann, Marc with Bung Rei man
Theary Seng (pointing at a mass grave, possibly where her mom was killed in 1978) speaking with man who was there at Boeung Rai (the heart of the Eastern Zone) when she was a prisoner there. Here with Mrs. Andrea Mann (the German Ambassador's real boss!), Helen (and godfather Wally) Boelkins, brother Daravuth Seng, village children, filmmaker Marc Eberle (Svay Rieng, 18 Jan. 2010).


Then as now, we, Cambodians, yearn for peace. Peace that is more than just the absence of war (or in the words of Dr. King, absence of “tension”). We want peace with the presence of justice. We want peace to subside the internal turmoil and purge the demons from within.


In reading Dr. King’s speech  Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break Silence, I cannot help but mourn that we no longer had his prophetic voice by the time the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh.  A time did come for Cambodians when silence was betrayal.


Some thirty years on, there is now the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (or, formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia or ECCC) to start us on this journey of ‘peace with justice’.

 

OVERVIEW OF KRT (EXTRAORDINARY CHAMBERS)

 

I will briefly outline the contours of the Extraordinary Chambers or Khmer Rouge Tribunal by way of background and contextualizing how we are attempting to reconcile peace with justice.


1.
KRT hammered out of 10 years of POLITICAL COMPROMISE between Cambodia and UN; deeply flawed from beginning; the result of lowest common denominator.


2.
KRT came into operation in July 2006


3. KRT is a HYBRID court of Cambodian and UN officials “in the Courts of Cambodia”

•       Cambodian civil law procedural rules

•       Co-prosecutors: Chea Leang (Cambodian), Robert Petit now Andrew Cayley (UN)

•     Co-Investigating Judges: You Bunleng (Cambodian), Marcel Lemonde (UN), now German Dr. Siegfried Blunk.

•      Co-Lawyers (Cambodian and UN), e.g. Kar Savuth, Jacques Verges

•      Complex “super-majority” to always include a foreign judge. An attempt to counter balance the fact that each level is presided by a Cambodian president and there's always one more Cambodian, e.g. Trial Chamber: 3 Cambodian, 2 UN judges presided by Cambodian judge.  But there are a million different ways around this; at least, it was an attempt.


4.
KRT is fully financed by the international community at US$40-50 million / year

•     Incomprehensible to a Cambodian teacher earning US$50/mo, even though very cheap by international standard, in comparison to other mixed/hybrid courts, e.g. Special Court for Sierre Leone, ICTY, ICTR.


5.
KRT located in remote outskirts of Phnom Penh on MILITARY COMPOUND; had to re-draw map of Phnom Penh to satisfy language of agreement.


6.
TEMPORAL JURISDICTION: crimes committed between 17 April 1975 – 7 Jan. 1979


7.
SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION:

•      1956 Penal Code – extending the statute of limitations to an additional 30 yrs.

•     GENOCIDE Convention, 1948

-     Has no statute of limitations

*     any acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group

-     Common usage (gives gravitas to severity of crimes) vs. Legal usage (Vietnamese, Cham Muslim) – both apply here.


•     CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

-     no statute of limitations

-     against “humanity”, not just against “Cambodians” because in the words of Dr. King who is cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

-     And moreover, what happened was an assault against the DIGNITY OF US ALL, not just Cambodians.


•     grave breaches of GENEVA CONVENTION


8.
PERSONAL JURISDICTION:

(i) “those most responsible”, and

(ii) “senior KR leaders”


•     Case File 001: Kaing Guek Eav (“DUCH”), director of Tuol Sleng (S-21) Detention Center

-     Has confessed, may be the sole scapegoat

-     Closing argument highlights problem with hybrid “co-“ nature

-     Verdict with controversial light sentencing this 26 July 2010

Theary Seng conforting Sovath, New York Times July 2010
Theary Seng comforting Ms. Hong Savath after hearing the judges announced the Duch verdict, front page of International Section of The New York Times, July 2010.


•     Case File 002: “Senior KR Leaders”

-     Nuon Chea (Brother No. 2, chief of Security apparatus)

-     Khieu Samphan (KR Head of State)

-    Ieng Sary (KR Minister of Foreign Affairs) o Ieng Thirith (KR Minister of Social Affairs)

-     OCTOGENARIAN, AILING – time is of the essence!

* Duch is also included in this case but asked to be dropped by Co-Prosecutors, a good idea.  Duch will now be a star witness; the most effective way to discredit a star witness is to make him flip-flop, a possible scenario for external invidious pressure on him to change position at the Closing Arguments via his Cambodian lawyer, who boasts also to be counsel to the Prime Minister, and for the sacking of his UN French lawyer Francois Roux.


Ex-Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Too Ill for Full-day Trial Sessions
(DPA, 20 Jan. 2011; Ieng Sary, AP Photo)


•    Case File 003, Case File 004

-  Before he left the ECCC, UN (Canadian) Co-Prosecutor Robert Petit forwarded 5 additional names for prosecution, but consistently, expressly, publicly blocked by the Prime Minister Hun Sen, most recently and directly to UNSG Ban Ki Moon during his visit to Cambodia this November 2010. Investigation by the UN without Cambodian involvement.


Madam Im Chaem, speculated by media to be one of 5 in list of additional prosecutions, here at the public forum "Transforming Killing Fields into Healing, Living Fields" of Center for Justice & Reconciliation in Anlong Veng, 9 April 2010

 

KRT AS A COURT OF LAW

 

1. KRT as "court of law" offers LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY.


•     LEGAL JUSTICE

-     “Search for truth” / truth-telling intrinsic element of justice: prosecution offers a very powerful mechanism in the search for “truth”.


•     SYMBOLIC JUSTICE

-     Proximate, not perfect justice

-     Selective, not comprehensive justice

*     e.g. Not mass crimes before 17 April 1975 (Henry Kissinger for US bombings which created the conditions for the rise of the KR in radicalizing a once-rag-tag band of guerilla fighters into mass murderers); not mass crimes after 7 Jan. 1979 (K-5 Plan under Vietnamese occupation).


•     VERTICAL JUSTICE

-     State vs. Perpetrator

-     Divine justice is also vertical justice (but which doesn't involve us!)


•     COLLECTIVE, PUBLIC REPUDICATION of mass crimes, to express our collective disgust, to restore moral order


•     “Justice must be seen to be done”:   "court of law" is the most VISIBLE form of justice


•     Chips at IMPUNITY

•     Acts as a DETERRENCE (puts potential perpetrators on notice)

 

BUT…

 

2.    KRT as COURT OF LAW, LEGAL MECHANISM – greatly LIMITED.


•     ANY court of law—even in developed US, Germany, France—is limited because based solely on EVIDENCE

-     AVAILABILITY of evidence

-     Clever lawyering in the USE of evidence

-     Fair trial rights: evidential rules, procedural rules, court room decorum

-     Arcane, archaic language; LEGALESE understandable to an elite few


•     SPECIFIC CHALLENGES to KRT


-     "Justice too long delayed is justice denied." – Dr. King quoting a Supreme Court Justice


-     EVIDENCE is 30 years old

*     Documentary: Compromised or lost

*     Witnesses: dead or fearful to come forward or blurry memory


-     CORRUPTION / kickbacks charges: still no effective, functioning anti-corruption mechanism in place


-     OVERT POLITICAL INTERFERENCE / interests:

*     CPP former KR cadres

*     China and geopolitical considerations


-     Lack of judicial independence/competence to try mass crimes


-     Budgetary constraints / annual fundraising – unlike a court sanctioned by the Security Council with established, allocated budget.


-     3 OFFICIAL LANGUAGES:  Khmer, French, English


-     DELAYS (natural, ill-will) – Jacques Verges’ “rupture defense”


-     MAGNITUDE OF CRIMES, scope of crime scene strewn across all the fields of Cambodia:

*     200 detention centers

*     thousands of “killing fields”

*     every Cambodian a victim


-     Experimentation of victims as CIVIL PARTY

*     Competition of victims; hierarchy of victims; “super-victim” status

*     Process ruined by people who should know better

*     Never accepted/taken seriously by the judges: idea conceived by people not implementers (e.g. judges); internal rules in Feb. 2010 greatly reduced rights to civil party to that of effectively “witnesses”.

*     No preparation by the court, by the lawyers, civil society

*     Equality of arms


-     HYBRID nature posing coordination challenges – UN and Cambodian officials theoretically should be speaking with one voice, but they have different motives, political constraints/will

*     UN agenda (to deem everything a "success" even if dismal)

*     Cambodian government agenda - to whitewash (erase) their own Khmer Rouge history; re-write history of them as "liberators" who tried the Khmer Rouge (but possibly limited to Duch being the sole scapegoat)


-     NO monetary reparations; only MORAL/collective reparations


-     Transitional nature of UN personnel: many high turnovers of senior UN personnel, lacking continuity; disrupture


KRT AS COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION


1. KRT is NECESSARY as ‘court of law’ but NOT SUFFICIENT; moreover, DEFICIENT.

2. No formal truth and reconciliation commission to complement/supplement.


3. If we only view KRT as a legal mechanism, a court of law – it should close shop and go home.  As only a "court of law", the KRT is not worth the cost-benefit analysis: it's a waste of everyone's time, energy and money.

 

HOWEVER…


4. KRT is BOTH a court of law and a court of public opinion. In realizing this, we can be CREATIVE to look for ways to expand and multiply the benefits in the court of public opinion, not only during the limited life of the court of law, but the legacy in the continuing life of the court of public opinion, long after the court of law closes operation.


5. Powerful catalyst for SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY: the constructive engagement of citizens. BROADENS and embraces more comprehensive definition of justice than just legal justice to SOCIAL JUSTICE:


•     POETIC JUSTICE – the myriad of conversations, narratives, perspectives one way to help counter-balance “Victor’s justice” and revisionist history.


•     RESTORATIVE JUSTICE – unlike prosecution, it has other values in addition to punishment.


•     HORIZONTAL JUSTICE: Victim vs. Perpetrator – room for forgiveness, conversations, understanding (unlike the courtroom drama of adversarial confrontations).


•     Transitional justice mechanisms other than prosecution.


6. KRT is the “SPECTACULAR EVENT” to break the silence; to transition us out of “period of 30 years of communicative silence” to building a “culture of memory”


•     KRT is a vivid illustration to jumpstart conversations long overdue:

-     History

-     Accountability (personal, collective, legal, moral, social)

-    Peace, truth, reconciliation, healing, trauma

-    Demystifying the legal system for Cambodians


7. Transforming us from SUBJECTS-SURVIVORS into empowered CITIZENS with rights and responsibilities.  Living under a monarchy makes us Cambodian "subjects"; the Khmer Rouge made us "survivors".  It's only been since 1993 via UNTAC that we are introduced to what it means to be "citizens", a concept yet theoretical, not yet infused into our identity.

•     Discovering our VOICE having been voiceless for so long

•     Dialogue replacing monologue – “NATIONAL DIALOGUE” – away from society of directives

•     Changing mentality of always awaiting for “permission to speak”

•     People are the judges


•      Not limited by arcane language, decorum – greater comfort in getting involved.

•      More difficult for political manipulation

•     Rare, unique window of opportunity to multiply impact of constructive engagement by shaping this broken legal mechanism.

-     DONOR funding

-     “STICKINESS FACTOR” – vested interest of Cambodians as a “civil party” rather than just an audience at a public forum or conference.


Victims at National Conference "Transforming Killing Fields into Healing, Living Fields" raising their hands in response to Theary Seng's query: Who has lost a husband, wife, father or mother to the Khmer Rouge?


8. CORPUS OF EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: court documents, testimonies (memoirs, civil party applications), media (written, TV, radio), expanding genre of KR FILMS

•     Enemies of the People: Nuon Chea (Thet Sambath, Rob Lemkin)

•     Facing Genocide: Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot (Story Production, Sweden)

•      Judging Genocide (ABC Australia Foreign Correspondents; CNN World Untold Stories)

•      Three Years, Eight Months and Twenty Days in Kampuchea (Network Ireland Television, kmf Production)

•      S-21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (Rithy Panh)

•      Bophana: a Cambodian Tragedy (Rithy Panh)

•     New Year Baby (Socheata Peou), etc.


Facing Genocide, a feature-length film by Story Production, Sweden, 2010


9. PROVINCIAL LEARNING CENTERS furnished with ECCC PHYSICAL ASSETS / INVENTORY: Legacy of learning, legacy of dialogue – VIRTUAL TRIBUNAL, Shoah Foundation testimonies

•     Building a culture of memory – memorials: not forget but know what and what not to memorialize (remember), to honor. Currently, the resources are concentrated in Phnom Penh with NO  efforts to preserve and protect the other 200 detention centers and authentic sites with historical significance.  Tuol Sleng (S-21) and Choeung Ek were not the only security center and "killing field" of this KR regime.


10. The most special impact for me is the standardizing of trauma language and conversations in Cambodian society. What was taboo 3 years ago are now talked about with less shame and reluctance. Three years ago, my staff accused me of thinking every Cambodian “crazy” by broaching these topics of trauma. Now, they are counseling others using the Trauma Handbook and posters taken from this Trauma Handbook.  My own very personal emotional turmoil is now serving to my advantage in my interaction with other traumatized people.

11. PROCESS… a JOURNEY of 1,000 steps… now at step 38


LEGACY FOR CAMBODIANS


The worst legacy for Cambodia is a mentality of irreversible cynicism. This is a real possibility if we do not engage this ECCC process to help shape it.

It is uncertain/questionable whether ECCC will have positive impact on the national court. If anything, it has created a greater appetite of the Cambodian judges (paid US$5,000/mo to $3-400/mo) once they return to the national courts. Positive Legacies are found in the “court of public opinion” as delineated above.


LEGACY FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE


1. VICTIMS’ PARTICIPATION

•      ECCC is the first mixed/international court to allow “victims” to become a party – CIVIL PARTY – to the case in the criminal proceeding.

-     The involvement of CIVIL PARTY should be retained and can be build upon, despite its challenges (e.g. administrative messiness).  THE PEOPLE’S COURT.


2.
International justice is moving toward this structure of a Court “within” national court system with UN / international personnel / presence.

•     Despite its problems and challenges, this is a welcome trend, to have the court be at the “scene of the crime”, inside the country and not in another country, e.g. Rwanda crimes tried in neighboring Tanzania, or crimes tried in The Hague - leaving out the population directly affected.

•     For the benefits of the population (as mentioned above, court of public opinion) in providing for a MORE MEANINGFUL, MORE COMPREHENSIVE JUSTICE:

-     Legal justice which is limited and narrow by its nature, in particular in trying mass crimes: because of symbolic justice, selective justice, vertical justice.

-     Social justice

-     Poetic justice - punishment is more than physical imprisonment.

-     Moves our human approximation / proximate of justice closer toward the unattainable goal of perfect justice, but nonetheless a destination.

•     Involvement of local judicial actors, LESS EXPENSIVE.

3. If possible in the political negotiation, DO AWAY with CO-POSITIONS, e.g. co-prosecutors, co-investigating judges, co-lawyers, etc. The problem was highlighted by the very dramatic public disagreement, contrary positions of Duch’s co-lawyers – French lawyer Francois Roux and Cambodian lawyer Kar Savuth at the Closing Arguments.

4. All these courts have NATIONAL RECONCILIATION as a stated goal but not given serious consideration. Thus, this goal must be better thought through and given much greater significance in the MANIFESTATION of it.

•     Outreach for victims/survivors will need to be reassessed and be better prepared with READY AVAILABLE FUNDING from the get-go.


CONCLUSION


In sum, only hindsight and a bit of distance will allow us to really assess the legacy / implications of this ECCC for Cambodia and for international law. However, we know enough of where we need to shape or re-direct the process in order to bring about POSITIVE legacies/impacts from this very flawed construct that is the ECCC.

One area we can impact the greatest change and bring about positive legacies is in the “court of public opinion”, where the people are the “judges” and are not inhibited by rules of procedure, evidentiary rules or the archaic, arcane legal language, preserved for the understanding of a few.

I’ve been emphasizing the importance of the ECCC in the court of public opinion. These benefits come from the fact there is a court of law. As such, there are several novel and challenging issues of legal nature which are being grappled by this Court. As the legal legacy is still being written, we should all weigh in from our respective fields and from whatever part of the world we find ourselves.

For the last 30 years since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, we have had a fragile peace in the absence of war or tension. Some have argued that we need to preserve this peace by doing away with justice, for legal prosecution will break this peace.

However, we know that there are times when “creative tension” is necessary to bring about positive change. In Cambodia, we have this “creative tension” in the form of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in helping us to reconcile our past with our present, to reconcile peace with justice – a peace that is more just the absence of war but embraces “creative tension” and a justice that goes beyond legal accountability to embrace social justice, poetic justice, horizontal/vertical justice and other transitional justice mechanisms and values such as healing, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Simply put:  ‘Peace’ or ‘justice’ is a false choice. It is peace with justice.

The legacy of the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in all of this is not only his giving eloquence to these values but it is a living legacy that reverberates in the lives of generations since the Civil Rights movement and not limited to America but all over the world, even as far away as the killing fields of Cambodia.


There is hope in the despair and the challenges.


Thus, I conclude with this encouragement, in the words of Dr. King: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."


Thank you.








 
A Language in Crisis: Punctuation is the Key to Development: Commas, Word Spacing

    You're already appropriating
punctuation marks;
now use them properly     About 5-6 years ago, I started posting pages from some Khmer dictionaries where commas were used (even if very sparsely, sporadically), in particular the 7-page [ ... ]


Translator

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