Ladies and Gentlemen,
The backdrop is the brilliant 1961 move "Judgement at Nuremburg". It is a fictional story based on the Nuremburg Trials after World War 2 where Nazi war criminals were tried and convicted of crimes against humanity. 6 million Jews as well as thousands of Gypsies, other minorities and disabled persons were deported, an euphemism for transportation and execution at concentration camps.
This gripping movie is a military court martial where 4 Nazi judges, Chief Justice Dr. Ernst Janning, Emil Hahn, Werner Lampe and Friedrich Hofstetter are being tried for having issued orders of deportation against Jews.
Nazi Chief Justice Ernst Janning is played brilliantly by Burt Lancaster. During the trial despite excellent representation by Hanhs Rolfe, played by Maximilian Schell who won an academy award for his role, Janning decides to confess. The rendition is excellent.
The prosecution's case against Janning was based mainly on the Feldenstein case, where an old Jew, Feldenstein was ordered to be executed by Janning for allegedly having defiled the morality of a 16 year old German girl on false charges.
I quote the ending of the confession of Janning:
" I had reached my verdict on the Feldenstein case even before I ever came into the courtroom. I would have found him guilty whatever the evidence. It was not a trial at all."
" Emil Hahn, Werner Lampe, Freidrich Hofstetter.......... and Ernst Janning, worse than any of them, because he knew what they were and when he went along with them, Ernst Janning made his life excrement because he walked with them".
This is a gripping movie. I strongly recommend it.
Now the backdrop in Singapore. Not players in a movie but real life. Dr. Chee Soon Juan was sued for defamation of character by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and his son, the Prime Minister of Singapore.The case was heard before High Court Judge of Singapore Belinda Ang on Sept 11, 2006. M Ravi, a former attorney represented Dr. Chee. Mr. Singh, the usual defamation lawyer of the Lees, father and son, represented them. Mr. Ravi, Chee's lawyer was taken ill. Dr. Chee asked for a continuance. It was denied. He asked for a short 2 week adjournment to find another lawyer. That too was denied. To add insult to injury, this Judge went on to hear the case in her chambers, without hearing any witnesses and not only that, without the even presence of Dr. Chee and ordered him to pay the Lees half a million dollars. Not having the money, he has since been made a bankrupt.
On July the 31, 2007, Dr. Chee's appeal before the Court of Appeal in Singapore against this decision was heard. He had no lawyer, as usual, not because he did not want one, but because all lawyers in Singapore are afraid to defend Lee's political opponents for fear that they too would be bankrupted like Dr. Chee for having the audacity to represent Dr. Chee.
So Dr. Chee represents himself. This time the parties are the Judges VK Rajah, Andrew Phang, and Woo Bih Li. Dr. Chee, even though not a lawyer does the best he can. Dr. Chee explains the injustice done to him by Belinda Ang. The judges ask a few perfunctory questions and retire promptly to their chambers, only to return after 15 minutes to deny the appeal of Dr. Chee.
I was then thinking then, of this movie Judgement at Nuremberg and the confession by Ernst Janning which appears equally applicable to these Singapore judges. So let me put it in quotations.
" Judges Belinda Ang, VK Rajah, Andrew Phang and Woo Bih Li had reached their verdicts against Dr. Chee even before they came into the courtroom. They would have found him guilty whatever the evidence. It was not a trial at all".
" Judges Belinda Ang, VK Rajah, Andrew Phang and Woo Bih Li made their lives excrement when they knowingly unjustly found against Dr. Chee to please their master Lee Kuan Yew, just as Nazi Judge Ernst Janning had deported innocent Jews to please his master Adolf Hitler".
"The lives of Judges Belinda Ang, VK Rajah, Andrew Phang and Woo Bih Li became at that moment EXCREMENT."
I strongly recommend this movie. You will find stunning parallel with the Singapore political courts of the Lee Administration. Very similar to the Nazi courts. And by the way, you can see the faces of these Singapore judges in the Singapore Democratic Website http://www.singaporedemocrat.org/.
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