Monday, 6 February 2012

life for Holocaust perpetrator

Kaing Guek Ev (this is the French rendering of his name), known as Duch, on Friday lost his appeal and was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, by judges of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia, known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.  This is indeed an extraordinary body.  It took 30 years after the crimes in question to set it up, and unlike other courts of the kind it is situated in the country where those crimes took place.  Half its judges are Cambodian, and it operates in English, Khmer and French.  Essentially it has been set up to bring five people, all of whom are at least 80 years old, to justice, and it needs to get a move on if it is going to do so before the Grim Reaper does its work for it.  It's arguable that what happened in Cambodia in the 1970s was not genocide, arguable too that it was.   What is not disputable is that Cambodia was rescued in 1979 by the wrong people, namely the Vietnamese communists, and that therefore, disgracefully, the Cambodia seat at the UN was retained by the Khmer Rouge at the US' behest for many more years, until 1993 and the Paris conference.

This tribunal is working slowly and in difficult circumstances.  But I believe it should be supported.  It is an example of the UN, a body which is useless most of the time, supporting some work which is actually for the good of humanity.

Holocaust denial.  I have often wondered why those who are inclined to deny that such an event took place are also those who hold the view that a Holocaust, especially of Jews, would be rather a Good Thing.  This view is of course widely held in parts of the Middle East, and tacitly supported by many on the stupid left today.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "We Are All Hezbollah Now".

It's good to retain some hope for the future.  The Duch verdict (there is no death penalty, and Cambodians will no longer kill their own people) does give some hope.  Elsewhere in the world (Syria, parts of the Labour Party) it's harder to find it.  Russia and China are happy to see the Syrian people killed in huge numbers.  Let them pay the price for that.  And make the killing stop.

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