More “robust” peacekeeping by United Nations peacekeepers working to calm or resolve conflicts comes with its own dangers, and it’s fertile ground for Charles Hunt’s research. Once, UN peacekeepers were strictly prohibited from ever using force for anything other than self-defence, no matter the provocation. Hunt, now an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at RMIT university, …read more
Scott Neeson frowns as he reads the message on his computer screen. Another child has been beaten and raped. “Oh, it’s Siem Reap again,” he says grimly, referring to the town in Cambodia’s north, near the wildly popular Angkor Wat temples. He reads on, noting that the child has been airlifted to a hospital in …read more
Here in Bill Smith’s office there’s a very fat text, maybe 10 centimetres thick, bound in pale pink paper. It’s one of thousands of so-called “confessions”, extracted by torture at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison run by the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. The text sits in a bookcase stacked with fat folders bulging with …read more
Horror years of slaughter and depravity linger in the minds of hundreds of Queenslanders. Refugees from the mindless brutality of Cambodia’s killing fields, they breathe the free air of Australia and remember a time of starvation and blood-soaked despair. And they watch as the leaders of the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge regime escape justice one by …read more
THE long-anticipated trial of the four most senior living Khmer Rouge leaders begins today, more than 30 years after Cambodia was racked by their ultra-communist rule of mass torture and murder.
Back then, he was a skinny little kid, looking for his family in the wasteland of Khmer Rouge devastation. He had been forcibly separated from his parents in a distant commune years before, later discovering they had starved to death. After the fall of the brutal regime, in the confusion and desperation of those early …read more
An Australian prosecutor’s push to use so-called “torture confessions” in UN sponsored tribunal hearings has created a storm of controversy in international legal circles.
The calm Australian voice cut through the charged silence of the trial chamber; asking measured questions about one of the most depraved periods in human history: the bloodstained rule of the Khmer Rouge. The merciless ultra-communist leaders and their henchmen killed – either directly or indirectly – one fifth of Cambodia’s population in a few …read more
The white Peugeot sat abandoned by the side of the road in the baking Cambodian heat. The car doors gaped open. The keys were still in the ignition, and there was camera gear on the back seat. It was ominously quiet. The few village houses nearby were blank-faced, doors and windows shut up tight; no …read more