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Cambodia: 40th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh


Cambodia: 40th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh

In Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy leads prayers on the 40th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge.

During the communist party’s four-year rule, an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died due to starvation, slave labour, large-scale murder and bloody purges.

Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Party conducts a ceremony annually at Choeung Ek killing fields – one of the most infamous killing sites linked to the period.

The Khmer Rouge’s supreme leader, Pol Pot, brought the party to power in 1975. He died in 1998 without having been charged for the deaths that occurred during his rule.

Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, two of the party’s top figures, are currently on trial.

“Every year, we remind the people in power to support the Khmer Rouge tribunal,” said Rainsy. “To proceed and not to hinder in any way the judicial proceedings that (are) intended to bring justice to the Khmer people.”

Chea and Samphan have been convicted of crimes against humanity. They are currently on trial for other crimes pertaining to that period, including genocide.

When the Khmer Rouge was overthrown, burial pits were excavated and thousands of skeletons discovered.