Skip to content

August 20, 2014

Khmer Rouge Tribunal: finally, some justice for Cambodia

by Dan Rodriguez

Professor David Scheffer, the Director of our Center for International Human Rights, and the first-ever War Crimes Ambassador for the United States, was instrumental in creating the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, this court was established to bring to trial those most responsible for the atrocity crimes that plagued Cambodia in the late 1970s.

Earlier this month, the Tribunal brought some measure of justice to Cambodians: “The two most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders from Cambodia’s genocidal Democratic Kampuchea regime…were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

This has been a long time coming. It wouldn’t have happened at all but for David’s tireless efforts as a State Department official during the Clinton Administration and as a special expert with the United Nations in the years since then. (If you are interested in how David helped establish war crimes tribunals for the Balkans, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, I urge you to read his remarkable book, All the Missing Souls.)

As Director of the Center for International Human Rights, David leads an incredible group of faculty who make possible a unique set of experiential opportunities for our students, of which one—among many—is working on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia. I thank them for their efforts to expand due process around the world and increase accountability to international law, and I join them in celebrating their success.

Comments are closed.