In Khmer Rouge Trial, Victims Will Not Stand Idly By

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If Sok Chear had her way, she would slice the elderly man into ribbons and pour salt into his wounds. She would beat him up and torture him and give him electric shocks to make him talk.

For Ly Monysar, even that would not be enough. “Only killing them will make me feel calm,” he said. “I want them to suffer the way I suffered. I say this from the heart.”

Sok Chear, an office worker, and Ly Monysar, a security guard, are two of the millions of Cambodians who suffered for four years in the late 1970s under the brutal Communist Khmer Rouge, which caused the deaths of 1.7 million people.

Three decades later, five aging former Khmer Rouge leaders are in custody and awaiting trial. And Sok Chear and Ly Monysar have an innovative role to play in the tribunal, where the first case is expected to begin this autumn.

They are two of hundreds of people who have applied to the court to be recognized officially as victims of the Khmer Rouge and to bring parallel civil cases against them.

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