The history of inhumane treatment of people in the twentieth century ranks the murder of 1.8 million people in Cambodia by the infamous Khmer Rouge as among the most brutal. Khmer Rouge slaughtered their own people on spurious charges of being “internal enemies” because they had some education or owned a business or had a farm or said the wrong thing to the wrong person. Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Comrade Duch is on trial for his war crimes. How does one “punish” a man who helped to kill 14,000 people at the Tuoi Sleng prison, most of whom were tortured and brutalized even in death. “My current plea is that I would like you to please leave an open window for me to seek forgiveness” he pleaded with the few who were still alive. Even as he spoke, Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge official, dismissed the trial as a waste of money. “I wish the court would have a budget shortfall as soon as possible.”
The problem with these trials is executing Eav is a meager way to deal with the terror that was imposed upon the people of Cambodia. The 1.8 million are dead and these pathetic old men who are still alive have long since lost the ability to instill fear among the living. He is a pathetic creature of the night who will soon die, and the wounds of death will linger.