Entries in Khmer Rouge (2)


Cambodia Makes Denial of Khmer Rouge Atrocity a Crime

iStockphoto(PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) -- Cambodia's parliament approved a bill which makes denying the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge a crime, BBC News reports.

The Khmer Rouge was a Maoist regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975-1979. Lead by Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot, the regime killed 1.7 million people, a third of the country’s population through overwork, starvation or torture.

Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed the law in response to an opposition leader who blamed Vietnam for some of the deaths, and claimed one of the most infamous torture prisons was staged. The opposition leader denies making these remarks.

Critics are saying that the law, which was passed when the opposition party was mostly absent, is a tool to keep the opposition down leading up to the elections.

"It's a tool to try to intimidate the opposition but also to galvanize his side, to demonize the opposition as unfit to govern, and to show that he's in charge, to show the country that he can completely dominate the opposition - and make them squirm," Human Rights Watch's Asia director Brad Adams told BBC News.

Those found guilty of denying the Khmer Rouge’s crimes could face up to two years in prison.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Khmer Rouge Trial for Cambodia‚Äôs 'Killing Fields' Gets Underway

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) -- Thirty-three years after the end of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia left more than a million people dead at the hands of the communist group, three of its former leaders will go on trial Monday.

Some 1.7 million people were either executed or died of starvation in Cambodia from 1975-1979 when the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge forced millions from Cambodia’s cities and tried to turn the country into an agrarian society.  Professionals and the well-educated were considered threats to the regime and were imprisoned, tortured and often slain and dumped into mass graves that became known as the killing fields.

Nuon Chea, the right-hand man of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan, the head of state during the group’s reign, and Ieng Sary, the Khmer Rouge’s foreign minister, face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.  The defendants are all in their 80s.

The U.N.-backed tribunal hearing has been moving at a snail’s pace. The judges on the panel were sworn in more than five years ago and the defendants have been in custody since 2007.  Pol Pot died in 1998.

Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, tells the BBC the survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror want an explanation of why they killed fellow Cambodians.

Chhang says the trial is important because, “People just want to confirm that the Khmer Rouge leadership was guilty of crimes against their own population.”

“That’s going to be very important for the whole country to move beyond victimhood and develop,” he adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio