A continuing desire for a face-to-face meeting with the man responsible for the killing of his brother will send Rob Hamill back to Cambodia today to attend an appeal hearing for a Khmer Rouge war criminal.
Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a United Nations-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last July, after he had pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity, war crimes, premeditated murder and torture.
Duch, 67, confessed to the torture of more than 12,000 people – among them Mr Hamill's brother, Kerry, in 1978 – before they were executed during his tenure as chief of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital. Duch's defence lawyers claim he was not the most responsible senior official at S-21.
The prosecution has also appealed the length of Duch's sentence, which they want extended to 45 years.
Mr Hamill, who lives in Te Pahu, addressed the war criminal in court in Phnom Penh last year, but now wants an opportunity to speak to him "face-to-face".
Emails to Duch's defence team have not received replies but Mr Hamill remains resolute, saying he would attempt to speak with Duch's representatives again while in Phnom Penh.
"There's more to it than him just agreeing to meet."
Mr Hamill believes Duch had an opportunity to "walk away" from S-21 or stop what was happening at the infamous torture camp.
"He didn't do a Schindler's List when he could have," Mr Hamill said.
"He could've got out of there and helped people ... but he didn't."
Mr Hamill expects it "could take months" before a new sentence is confirmed or denied.
The appeal begins on Monday and will last four days.
Mr Hamill is currently making the final edits to a documentary about his brother and his search for justice for Kerry's death.
Entitled Brother Number One, it is expected to be released later this year.
- Waikato Times