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Friday, 7 June 2013

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

Take two regimes .... Hitler's 'Nazi Germany' and Pol Pots 'Khmer Rouge Cambodia':

In 1945, (between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946), the main leaders of the Nazi German regime were all tried in court, and where sentenced, executed or imprisoned. Over the following decades, the hunt for those who had fled justice continued, and even now 65 yrs later, there are prosecutions of men in their 80's. Hundreds of SS men have been convicted over the decades, and even though there have been complaints from victims relatives about the slow responses of governments, there has generally been some effort made to act when a fugitive from justice is uncovered.

The Nuremberg Trials - Provided  Some Justice

Contrast this with Cambodia, where 34 yrs after the fall of one of the most genocidal regimes in history (1975-1979) the 'trials' of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge are ongoing. The pace of the trials is so slow, that the pitifully few of the leadership who have even faced an investigation (and even fewer who have faced trials), are more likely to die of old age before any conviction, than anything else.

As you might have guessed the main reason for this amazing contrast in prosecution rates and purpose is that in Germany it was the victorious allies who performed the trials, whereas the tribunal in Phnom Penh is being backed by the UN (and its legion of expenses paid, first class accommodation 'human rights' lawyers). This means that the criminals 'rights', and not the need for justice are the primary driver of the events.

In fact so bad is the situation, that despite the fact that up to two million people are believed to have died during the four years of Khmer Rouge rule, only one senior-level Khmer Rouge figure has been convicted of crimes committed during that era. Yes just one .... (Pol Pot, died in the late 1990's). The only top official convicted in connection with crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime is chief jailer Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, who was in charge of one of the hundreds of torture camps in the country.

Pol Pot Leading His Cadres To Victory

But of the thousands of brutal death camp guards, torturers and soldiers of the infamous 'Killing Fields', none, not one, has ever been prosecuted. Even of the few Khmer leadership who have been captured and tried, only a very few such as leader Nuon Chea and fellow current defendant Khieu Samphan (the regime's former head of state), have issued any sort of apology to relatives for the atrocities.

The Silent Victims Of Genocide

Now you have to ask what possible reason there can be to let the killers of 2 million people in four brutal years, walk freely amongst the survivors of their brutality?

The Killing Fields Of The Khmer Rouge

There is no easy answer except a combination of western interference - The UN backed trials are very slow, easily bogged down in points of law, and like the trials of Balkan war criminals in the Netherlands, very expensive, - and Racial Bigotry; there seems to be an acceptance in some quarters, that because this was all in an 'Asian' country, in fact a crime in a 'far away country, between people of whom we know nothing', that its somehow acceptable to have the perpetrators just walk away from their terrible crimes.

This is in marked contrast to the hunt for Nazi's which continues to this day ..... but then they killed white Europeans, didn't they?

6 comments:

  1. George Clemenceau said that 'War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men' : so is justice too serious to be entrusted to lawyers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I think that statement may well apply to the sort of Lawyers the UN are likely to employ. Of course most Anglo Saxon lawyers would tell you that the law isn't about "Justice", its about the law.

      Delete
  2. ... the law isn't about "Justice", its about the law.

    What a cop-out, that's like a carpenter saying it's not about the cabinet it's about the chisel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its the truth though .... our system is adversarial, while on the continent its about establishing the truth. Anglo-Saxon trial by ordeal, versus Napoleonic Law

      Delete
  3. It's a funny thought that our much vaunted (by our lawyers) legal system is not set up to get to the truth, or even to deliver justice, but for a lawyer to try by any means to get their client off. Their guilt is for someone else to try and prove.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats probably been a good thing when Government and applying the Law was by a single Autocrat in the UK, but in modern times its maybe counter productive.

      Delete

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