Cambodia: the lost executioner up for trial

Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 03:31 pm
Today's New York Times brings an update to the Duch trial. It mostly reiterates the general flavor of the trial, which resembles earlier reports I have seen linked in this thread. In addition, there is one issue I hadn't been aware of before, which is the difficulty to reconstruct the truth of the testimonies on both sides. Here are some problems on the plantiffs' side ...

Today's New York Times wrote:
Most of this testimony is uncorroborated, and some has faced vigorous challenges from the defense and skepticism from the judges. In particular, the judges have called into question the testimony of witnesses who also are designated as “civil parties” " an innovation in international tribunals that allows alleged victims to join the case and to seek reparations from any defendants who are convicted.

The testimony of these witnesses has not been vetted by prosecutors, and most have arrived poorly prepared by overburdened lawyers. Their testimony has often deviated from their sworn depositions, leaving the judges to decide which version, if any, to credit.

... and on the defendant's side:

The New York Times wrote:
In challenging the story of one witness who said he had been a prisoner at Tuol Sleng, Duch presented the curious defense that this could not be the person in question because, according to Duch’s records, he had already had him killed.

Using a similar argument, he questioned the account of a man who said he had survived the camp, where he was imprisoned as an 8-year-old child; Duch asserted confidently that he had made sure all children who entered the prison with their parents were killed.

That witness, Norng Chan Phal, now 39, whose authenticity was later confirmed by prison documents, presented a horrifying picture of loss that could resonate with millions of survivors.

Read the full article here

Although the full article is only as graphic as necessary to tell its story, it's inevitably disturbing. It is also well worth a read.
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 03:58 pm
Defenses like those sound like "I didn't do it, and anyway, it was self defense". Same impeccable logic, I mean.
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Reply Wed 26 Dec, 2012 02:50 pm
Decided lack of USians in this thread, doncha think, Soz? Where's Setanta, and Gob1, for example?
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