News / Asia

Cambodians Mark Khmer Rouge Anniversary, Many Still Hoping for Justice

A boy looks at a pile of skulls in a stupa at Choeung Ek memorial on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia,  April 17, 2014.
A boy looks at a pile of skulls in a stupa at Choeung Ek memorial on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 17, 2014.
Cambodians on Thursday marked the 39th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge, with many victims of the regime still anxious to see the conclusion of the trial of two jailed leaders.

On April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge overran the capital and began emptying Cambodia's cities, pushing people into labor camps and work collectives in the countryside.

Bou Meng is one of the few survivors of the notorious Tuol Sleng detention center in Phnom Penh, where his wife was tortured and executed.  He told VOA that it is vital to remember the horrors of the past.

“April 17 is a historic day that none of us can forget," said Meng.

Nearly 40 years later, only Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, who oversaw Tuol Sleng, has been successfully brought to trial by a United Nations-backed tribunal.

Aging Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are awaiting a verdict in the first phase of their trial, as well as the beginning of the second and final phase.  They are accused of atrocities including genocide, for their leadership roles in the regime.

Long Panhavuth, who monitors the tribunal at the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said their ongoing trial should serve as a reminder that such crimes will not go unpunished.

“First, we can say that large scaled offenses like the crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, have no statute of limitation.  Second, this shows us that in whatever circumstances, those who are responsible for these crimes must be brought to justice for their roles in causing deaths to people," said Panhavuth.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Thursday that the April 17 anniversary serves as a lesson to government leaders.

“We’ve learned a lot from experience which had led to violent change like what the Khmer Rouge did, and their nation building process based on violence," said Siphan.

The Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for the deaths of nearly 2 million Cambodians during its bloody, four-year rule in the late 1970's.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid