The prosecutor’s statement yesterday was unambiguous: “justice will be done. History demands it.” But at what cost? I’ve been watching the trial of the former Khmer Rouge leaders unfold here in Phnom Penh, where there is growing concern that the tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars that the trial will cost will be not be spent effectively, even becoming a new source of graft and resentment. It’s a subject that weighs heavily on the minds of people like Theary Seng, an author, activist and lawyer, and killing fields survivor.
One evening recently we sat outside the Cantina, a small bar overlooking the Mekong River. It was here, several years earlier, that she told me of a desire to confront ‘Brother Number Two’, Nuon Chea, and ask him who had killed her parents, and why.