Hamill lines up questions

01:00, Jul 15 2010

Te Pahu's Rob Hamill hopes to interview the man responsible for his brother's death when the former Khmer Rouge prison camp commander is sentenced later this month.

Mr Hamill, a former champion rower and environmentalist, returns to Cambodia next week for the sentencing of ex-Khmer Rouge prison camp leader Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch.

Duch, 65, was in charge of the Tuol Sleng or S21 prison camp where Mr Hamill's brother, Kerry, is believed to have been executed in 1978. In August last year, Rob Hamill gave testimony at Duch's trial in Phnom Penh's Extraordinary Chambers of Courts of Cambodia.

Mr Hamill told the Waikato Times he had formally requested an interview with Duch and, if the interview was granted, it would form part of the Brother Number One documentary tracing Mr Hamill's search for justice for his brother.

He would find out if the interview request had been approved after Duch is sentenced on July 26.

"I want as much information about my brother as I can get. And I really want to understand him (Duch)," Mr Hamill said.


Mr Hamill said although he was initially unsure what length of sentence Duch should receive, he now believed 40 years – "the rest of his living days" – would be appropriate.

"The prosecution asked for 40 years and that surprised me – I thought they would have asked for life," Mr Hamill said.

"I would think 40 years would be satisfactory, but anything less than that would be a victory to the (Duch) defence team, I suspect. He took my brother's freedom away, he took away 14,000 others' freedom ... he should really have his freedom taken away too.

"That's called justice being served and you have to pay your debt to society," Mr Hamill said.

Comments made by Duch at the trial "were not indicative of remorse", Mr Hamill said.

He believed information provided by Duch might mitigate his sentence "but I believe he's been coy on some occasions when he could've been a bit more forthright".

Mr Hamill said he had been spending long hours researching the context of his brother's death, and would be visiting sites in northern Cambodian for filming of the documentary.

The whole trip will take about a fortnight.

Waikato Times