Thirty years on, Cambodia is still scarred by the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror. Mass graves serve as reminders of the nightmare the nation endured. The country’s so-called genocide tribunal has been a long time in coming. In a key step, its Cambodian and international judges were sworn-in last year. But the 40 million euro court – backed by the UN – has been beset by delays and disputes, raising questions over its future.
Trials are now expected to get underway next year. Before today, the chief Khmer Rouge inquisitor known as Duch had been the only top figure in the regime to be formally indicted by the tribunal. He has been charged with crimes against humanity.
The Khmer Rouge revolution was meant to transform 1970s Cambodia into a peasant utopia. Instead, its brutality created one of the darkest chapters of 20th century history. As for its leader, he will never be brought to justice. Pol Pot died in 1998.