Hamill to see Khmer Rouge henchman sentenced

00:27, Jul 14 2010
Rob Hamill
SEEKING JUSTICE: Rob Hamill testifies the Extraordinary Chamber of the Courts of Cambodia in 2009.

New Zealand rower Rob Hamill is going to Cambodia to be in court for the sentencing of the Khmer Rouge henchman who headed the prison where his brother Kerry was tortured and killed.

Kerry Hamill ended up at the S-21 or Tuol Sleng prison headed by Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, when the yacht he and friends were sailing strayed into Cambodian waters on August 13 1978.

One crewman, Canadian Stuart Glass, was shot while Mr Hamill and Briton John Dewhirst were taken for interrogation and torture for two months before being killed.

Mr Hamill testified at the Extraordinary Chamber of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on July 26 last year - the 31st anniversary of his brother's abduction. The ECCC is a joint Cambodia-United Nations court and former New Zealand Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright is one of the judges.

"Nearly two million Cambodians were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979," Mr Hamill said in a statement.

"I only hope that this verdict brings some sense of justice to those who have suffered so much and waited so long."

A documentary is being made about Mr Hamill's experience.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge sought to set up a communist utopia. Up to two million people died from starvation, overwork, torture or execution during the 1975-1979 regime.

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Kaing Guek Eav
'DUCH': Kaing Guek Eav, the Khmer Rouge prison boss.

NZPA