Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Talks are taking place in Phnom Penh to try to get the planned trials of ex-Khmer Rouge leaders back on track. More than a million people died in Cambodia during the regime's four years of rule in the late 1970s. Since then, a lack of political will and latterly money has prevented any tribunal getting started.

Until now. Last year's death of the most senior Khmer Rouge figure in custody, military chief Ta Mok, seems to have sharpened minds both in Cambodia and internationally that time is running out. The process of thrashing out the terms of this sort of tribunal has proved pretty difficult recently in places such as Sierra Leone, but today's discussions in Cambodia should hopefully speed the process up, allowing hearings to begin later this year.

With Pol Pot long since dead, there are really only a handful of elderly second-tier Khmer Rouge officials left to put on trial. But it's definitely worth the time and money. Going through the process of trials, and allowing all Cambodians to know everything about what happened to their country three decades ago, is the best way of helping make sure it won't happen again.

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