Friday, April 16, 2010

Cambodian Genocide

Khmer Rouge Legacy Lingers 35 Years after Phnom Penh's Fall
By Robert Carmichael, April 16, 2010
"Thirty-five years ago, Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, fell to the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot's ultra-Maoist movement, which over the preceding years had taken control of most of the country. Many in the capital were relieved, believing now, after years of war, they could rebuild their lives. But as history has shown, they were terribly wrong. The Khmer Rouge immediately began emptying the cities of their inhabitants and putting them to work in rural agricultural collectives, a policy that had deadly consequences. Up to 2 million people died from execution, starvation, disease and overwork under the four-year Khmer Rouge state known as Democratic Kampuchea. ... Emptying the cities was the first step in the Khmer Rouge's bid to refashion Cambodian society. The movement outlawed family and religion, and its paranoid nature meant that class enemies -- intellectuals, politicians, those in the military -- were swept away. Most were killed. When the regime had eliminated its perceived external enemies, it turned inward and began to consume itself in a rage of paranoia and blood.
Important enemies were tortured at a former school in Phnom Penh known as S-21. For most of its four-year existence, it was under the command of a man named Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch. Last year, Duch stood trial at the joint UN-Cambodian war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh for the deaths of 12,380 people who passed through S-21. Judgement was expected in June. Duch's is the first international trial of anyone from the Khmer Rouge regime. Much of the documentation used as evidence against Duch came from the Documentation Centre of Cambodia. The movement's senior surviving leaders have yet to stand trial: Khieu Samphan, the former head of state; Ieng Sary, the foreign minister; Ieng Thirith, the social affairs minister; and Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two, reckoned to be the movement's chief ideologue. All four are in pre-trial detention and are likely to appear in court early next year. Whether the elderly detainees would survive until the end their trials is another matter. [...]"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ