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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid