Monday, July 26, 2010

Justice for the killing fields

Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention by an international tribunal. Good. While in charge of Tuol Sleng prison, Duch was responsible for the murder of 15,000 people. Inmates at the prison were tortured with beatings, electric shocks, hanging, burning, and waterboarding to force them to "confess" to crimes against the regime; after confessing, they were executed. Duch oversaw all of this in minute detail, and so is responsible under the Nuremberg Principles for every act of torture and every killing. And he's likely to end up in prison for the rest of his life for it.

This should be a warning to other international criminals: if you organise the machinery of torture and genocide, we will get you. And that applies to the architect's of America's policy of torture as much as it applies to Duch. Torturers are hostis homini generis, the common enemies of all humanity. And they must all be brought to justice.