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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
Cambodians await Khmer Rouge trials
Police in Cambodia have arrested the most senior surviving member of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime, who will be tried by a UN-backed tribunal.

The 82-year-old Nuon Chea was second-in-command to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.

Cambodian people talk about the significance of this arrest and whether the trials will bring justice for the victims of the regime.

KAO SAMRETH, 49, TOUR GUIDE, ANGKOR WAT, SIEM REAP

Kao Samreth
Kao Samreth is hopeful that there will be more arrests
The arrest of Nuon Chea is very good news. He knows a lot about what happened in those days and who else is responsible.

I hope that he will confess faithfully about everything he did. That will show the real history of Cambodia.

Hopefully his confessions will also lead to more arrests.

I think the trials are starting too late. Many witnesses have died and many others are too old. Evidence has been destroyed.

But it's better than nothing, and it's better later than never.

Cambodian people are awaiting the trials with expectation. Some are not very happy with them, because they don't trust Cambodian judges who can be under political pressure.

Most of the judges are Cambodian and they must have lost relatives and friends during the Khmer Rouge regime. They will be biased. I think 50% of the judges should be Cambodian and 50% foreign.

I was 17 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power. I lost my father, brother and many friends. The whole town was emptied and its people sent to camps.

I was separated from my family and sent to work in a camp. I spent there three years, eight months and 20 days. My father was killed simply because he was a teacher.

VIREAK, 23, ENGINEER, SIEM REAP

Vireak
Vireak: The younger generation doesn't know anything
The arrest looks like a step forward, but I reserve my judgment until the verdict is out. For now at least, it gives reassurance that preparations for the trails are going well.

I am too young to remember the Khmer Rouge regime. I was born after that period. My parents never talk about what exactly happened then.

I believe most parents are the same - they just want their children to look forward to the future. That's why they want to spare them the pain of the past. That partly explains why younger generations have little knowledge of what was going on.

One of my friends who is the same age thinks that the trials are a waste of money and that we should just forget about them and move on. We can never understand the pain and feelings of the victims because we never went through it ourselves.

In a way I am glad that the trials are going to start. But I also want them to end quickly. I hope that they can bring justice, but I am not sure whether they will.

TAILY SENG, CORNER SHOP OWNER, PORTSMOUTH, UK

Taily Seng
Taily Seng: Justice can be achieved only up to a point
Nuon Chea has been living freely for 30 years. Everyone knew where he was. How hard was it to arrest him?

Why take 30 years to bring those responsible to justice? Many of the victims are now dead and those who still live don't even care anymore.

Everyone knows that the government has been protecting leaders of the Khmer Rouge. They've arrested Nuon Chea now because of pressure from the outside that will hopefully lead to more arrests.

I doubt if he'll confess anything. Why would a mass murderer confess? He knows that he will lose no matter what he says, so why confess?

It would be great if the trial can go on smoothly and some justice is achieved, but it will be only up to a point.

Me and my wife both went through the killing fields. We have all suffered and lost loved ones. After so many years, the trial for justice is still in a limbo.

Still, the arrest is a good development, it shows that there is will, but there is more to do. Bring the whole lot, all of them, put them in the same place for the people of Cambodia to see.

That's what will satisfy me. Not just one or two, but all of them. That will take time, perhaps another five or 10 years.

SONG, 42, SANTA ANA, US

As a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime, I would not give too much thought on this trial. Arresting 'Brother Number Two', as Nuon Chea is known, will not make any difference.

There are others who are living freely and by the time they get arrested and put on trial, they will all be dead like Ta Mok and Pol Pot.

This trial is a joke. It is happening too late and it is insulting for the victims
Why doesn't the Cambodian government arrest all the remaining former Khmer Rouge leaders together and put them on trial at the same time, instead of arresting them one by one?

[Prime Minister] Hun Sen and his government would not allow this trial to go ahead regardless of what the international community thinks.

China and Vietnam have strong connections with the current and past governments. They were the main supporters of the Khmer Rouge regime and today they are the largest investors in Cambodia's economy. Millions of dollars are loaned to the Cambodian government without conditions. They would not allow this trial to go forward.

This trial is a joke. It is happening too late and it is insulting for the victims. Cambodian people don't care about it. You can't help people after they had died, you help them while they are still alive. Where was the UN in 1975?


SEE ALSO
First Khmer Rouge leader charged
31 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Key figures in the Khmer Rouge
31 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge trials ready to start
13 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Rocky road to Khmer Rouge trial
26 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Surviving the Khmer Rouge
24 Jan 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Cambodia
19 Apr 07 |  Country profiles



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