Some 10,000 people gathered in Cambodia's capital to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the bloody Khmer Rouge regime at the hands of Vietnamese forces. But the legacy of the period is very much alive today.
The anniversary is being mainly observed by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) - which evolved after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge. CPP president Chea Sim addressed a crowd of some 10,000 supporters at party headquarters Wednesday - calling Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979 a genocidal catastrophe that created the darkest chapter in Cambodia's history. He pledged that upcoming trials in the United Nations-sponsored genocide tribunal would finally end the dark period by bringing justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge.
No Khmer Rouge leader has ever been tried and convicted of atrocities in an international court. Most who remain alive live freely and many former lower echelon Khmer Rouge members took advantage of an amnesty and work for the current government.
Nearly two million people are believed to have been executed, worked to death or starved as the Maoist Khmer Rouge attempted to turn Cambodia into an agrarian utopia.
The Liberation Day ceremony Wednesday ended with a release of doves and balloons to symbolize peace.