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Khmer Rouge Tribunal Essay

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal is a court of justice formed to prosecute perpetrators of Cambodia mass killing. The tribunal was formed to prosecute senior members of the Khmer group for violation of international law and bring justice to the people who were murdered by the group. The group murdered approximately 1.7 million Cambodians which is almost a quarter of the population. Several studies have also established that a close to a million people was subjected to forced labor under inhuman condition. However, the tribunal is worth the cost since it gave the victim of inhuman treatment and the families of the deceased were given time to speak their minds and seek justice as well. It is estimated that 264,351 people have attended the proceedings. According to Koumjian (2017), the tribunal was worth the cost since it provided hopes of obtaining justice for the victims and the families of people killed by the Khmer Rouge group.

The tribunal had several benefits and an essential part is that it allowed the people of Cambodia to reconcile. It provided an opportunity for both the victims and the perpetrators to reconcile to put the incident behind for the sake of the country. It is argued that though it is difficult to have a normal conversation with people who murdered your loved ones, it is important that people can have a normal life. Chhang’s noted that it is “a bitter pill to slow” even someone disagrees with the court decision. The tribunal also made sure that the perpetrators of the murder are punished and therefore, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal offer justice to the people and helped in building a unity country as well so that the country can be stronger and united (Koumjian, 2017).

Though several people have disagreed with the end result of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, it is obvious some people were punished and the public came to know the mastermind of the mass killing (Boyle, 2017). The tribunal punished some people and released others as well so that people can move on when justice is obtained. Therefore, the end result is worth it because as justice is to seek and obtained, the country must reconcile and rebuilding to be initiated. It is argued that some people believed to have been involved were set free due to lack of evidence. This annoyed several victims and made them question the main intention of the tribunal (Boyle, 2017). The court sentenced some of the Khmer Rouge leaders such as Kaing Guek Eav life in prison and release Chaem for lack of enough evidence and therefore, tribunal process completed its work and the process worth it.

Nevertheless, the tribunal like Khmer is usually formed to provide justice and offer reconciliation as well. And therefore, we can learn from such tribunal that not all our expectation can be met and therefore, people must learn to forgive and move on after obtaining justice. It is difficult to constitute a tribunal and make it work because of political interference and personal interest which almost stalled the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The president tried to help some people and stopped the prosecution of other leaders to protect his political future. Therefore, the political interferences always paralyze such tribunal and without political support, international support such tribunal cannot succeed (Mydans, 2017).

In conclusion, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was an essential tribunal which made sure that the victims of mass killing and inhuman treatment of Khmer Rouge group obtained justice. It was the beginning of reconciliation and rebuilding of Cambodia so that people can unite and build the country. At the end of tribunal perpetrators of the mass killing were prosecuted with some being jailed for life in prison.


Boyle, D. (2017). Confronting justice as Khmer Rouge tribunal drops the case against I’m Chaem., 1-15.

Koumjian, N. (2017). Khmer Rouge Tribunal: A U.N. Prosecutor’s View., 1-35.

Mydans, S. (2017). 11 Years, $300 Million and 3 Convictions. Was the Khmer Rouge

Tribunal Worth It?, 1-35.



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