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Hamill set to testify at Khmer Rouge trial

27 July 2009

Media Release – EMBARGOED UNTIL 5AM 27 JULY

Hamill set to testify at Khmer Rouge trial

New Zealander Rob Hamill will testify as a victim on 12 August at the Cambodian war crimes trial of the Khmer Rouge commander of the camp where his brother was killed.

Rob’s appearance at the Extraordinary Court of Cambodia trial of Khaing Khek Iav, AKA ‘Comrade Duch’, comes almost 31 years to the day after Kerry Hamill and Englishman John Dewhirst were snatched from their storm-blown yacht, and fellow sailor Canadian Stuart Glass was killed, on 13 August 1978. Kerry and John were tortured for two months at ‘Camp S21’ and forced to falsely confess they were CIA spies, before being executed on the orders of Pol Pot.

“I expect to experience the widest possible range of emotions when I see Duch,” says Rob, one of two Western victims to testify, “a lot of nervous energy will be expended.”

“Duch says he is sorry and wants forgiveness, but I want to find out whether he truly understands the impact of what he did and the damage he caused.”

“I’m not sure that he does comprehend what he and the Khmer Rouge did to the people of Cambodia, let alone to the families of Kerry, John and Stuart.”

The story of Rob’s search for justice for his brother and his friends is the subject of ‘Brother Number One’, being produced by Annie Goldson, James Bellamy and Rob for Pan Pacific Films, funded by NZ on Air and TV3, with conditional financing from the NZ Film Commission. Annie, an internationally renowned film-maker, is also directing, with Emmy-nominated Peter Gilbert and Kiwi cinematographer Jake Bryant as Co-Directors of Photography. See http://bno-documentary.blogspot.com/ for more info.

The Extraordinary Court of Cambodia is a court under Cambodian jurisdiction but with United Nations’ assistance. Former New Zealand Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright is one the judges. See http://www.eccc.gov.kh/english/ for more info.

Rob Hamill is widely known for winning the first-ever Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 with the late Phil Stubbs. He currently works as a motivational speaker, as an organiser of ‘The Great Race’ international rowing event on the Waikato River, and is elected to the WEL Energy Trust. He also campaigns for environmental causes and was the Green Party candidate for Taranaki-King Country in the 2008 General Election.

Rob Hamill will not be directly available for further comment, please make all inquiries to the contact below.

ENDS

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