Cambodia grandmother accused of war crimes lives a quiet life

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tags: Cambodia, Khmer Rouge

“I do not like what they accuse me of,” she said in a recent interview at her home in Anlong Veng, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold. “I don’t want to think about that. There’s no reason for it. I don’t want to have any trouble. I just want to live in peace.”

As many as 2.2 million people died in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge rule, and there have been battles over whom to prosecute since the tribunal’s inception. Since it opened in 2006, the tribunal has convicted only three people: two senior leaders and the regime’s chief jailer.

A fourth elderly suspect died during prosecution, while another was declared unfit for trial because of dementia. Three midranking suspects are also under investigation but have not been arrested.

The government — whose nucleus is a group of former Khmer Rouge officials and soldiers who defected early on — has effectively blocked the tribunal from reaching further into the ranks of the Khmer Rouge, many of whom gained positions in the army or local government when they agreed to reintegrate in the 1990s.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge soldier, has repeatedly warned that more trials would cause fresh outbreaks of civil war and chaos.

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