The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have acted to arrest another senior leader of the Khmer Rouge regime. Nuon Chea, former head of the national assembly in Cambodia was arrested today in preparation for his trial by the genocide tribunal. He is the second senior surviving Khmer Rouge leader arrested on the tribunal’s orders in the past month (Kang Kek Ieu aka Duch was arrested in mid-August). In both cases, the question is whether the tribunal will proceed rapidly enough to actually begin the trial of either man, both of whom are in their eighties.
One can only hope that the trials will proceed expeditiously, if only so that these two men can testify and give the Cambodian people the opportunity to engage in a more open discussion of the tragedy of the 1970s. In South Africa, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia the trials of former leaders (or in the case of South Africa the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) have done much to open such discussions, thereby helping the healing process to move forward.