PHOTO: Pnomh Penh Post
A UN-backed court has found two leaders of Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge regime guilty of genocide. The judgement comes four decades after the regime which oversaw what became known as the Killing Fields, was overthrown.
Most of the victims of the 1975-79 regime died of starvation, torture, exhaustion or disease in labour camps. Others were simply bludgeoned to death during mass executions, many in areas just out of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
Up to 2.2 million people, a quarter of Cambodia’s population at the time, died during the four year rule of the Khmer Rouge.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), said Khmer Rouge “Brother Number Two”, 92 year old Nuon Chea and former President 87 year old Khieu Samphan were guilty of genocide against the Cham Muslim minority and Vietnamese people, and of crimes against humanity. The pair have been sentenced to life in prison.
They were already serving life sentences for 2014 convictions for crimes against humanity, in connection with the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh after the Khmer Rouge took power under their notorious leader Pol Pot in 1975.
There had been debate for years among legal experts at to whether the killings by the Khmer Rouge constituted genocide, as the vast majority of victims were fellow Cambodians.
The court found that during their rule, the Khmer Rouge’s policy was to target Cham and Vietnamese people to create “an atheistic and homogenous society without class divisions”, Judge Nil Nonn said in the verdict.
Hundreds of Vietnamese civilians and soldiers were also killed at the infamous S-21 interrogation centre, at a converted Phnom Penh school called Tuol Sleng, after being tortured to admit being spies. Tuol Sleng remains a gruesome tourist attraction and testament to the systematic torture and execution of those who ended up there during the brutal regime.
“The fate of all these prisoners was a foregone conclusion as they were all ultimately subject to execution.”
Both Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea appeared for the court session but Nuon Chea was excused after 40 minutes complaining of back pain. He continued to follow the proceedings from his cell.
Khieu Samphan, looking frail and gaunt. He stood in the dock with the help of prison guards when Nil Nonn read the verdict.
The court, a hybrid UN and Cambodian tribunal, was set up in 2005 to bring to justice “those most responsible” for the deaths under the Khmer Rouge. The court has convicted only three people.
Its first conviction was in 2010 when it sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch”, head of S-21 where as many as 14,000 people were tortured and executed, to life in prison.
Two other Khmer Rouge leaders, Ta Mok and Ieng Sary, were facing charges but died before the case was concluded. Pol Pot died in 1998.
Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet
PHOTO: The Japan Times
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.
At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.
More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.
With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.
After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.
Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.
Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.
“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.
“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”
“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”
Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew
The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is leading a delegation to officiate at the opening of a new rail service between Thailand and Cambodia at Klong Luek railway station in Sa Kaew province. The Thai government funded the maintenance and restoration of the two kilometre rail track between Klong Luek station and Poipet station in Cambodia.
Rail services between Thailand and Cambodia were suspended for decades due to strained relationships between the two countries since the Cold War era. Although the relationship is much better these days there was little interest in the restoration of the rail link as people in both countries tended to prefer travel by road.
Sea turtle returns to its nesting place – it’s now an airport!
“Despite the unfortunate circumstances that befell the turtle mother, she is reportedly in good health and was released back into the ocean by locals,” wrote local news website The Edition.
The incident has sparked fresh debates on the environmental and social costs of the Maldive’s tourism-propelled growth (sounds familiar?).
“The question remains on how much of Maldives’ biodiversity must be sacrificed in order to propel our country forward industrially and economically,” the website said.
The airport, which has a 2.2 kilometre, 40 metre-wide runway, was inaugurated in August last year. The UAE-funded project was built on Maafaru, one of the inhabited islands of Noonu Atoll, which is a traditional nesting place of the marine turtles.
Once a green turtle hatches and heads into the ocean, it rarely returns to land. When they reach sexual maturity, they travel long distances to go back to their natal place to mate and lay eggs.
The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is on the list of endangered species of animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
SOURCE: The Nation
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