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Cambodia marks 'Day of Anger' to remember K.Rouge victims

20 may 2015, 15:28
0

 More than 1,000 people Wednesday marked Cambodia's annual "Day of Anger" against the genocidal former Khmer Rouge regime, with black-clad students wielding rifles, knives and bamboo sticks to mimic its crimes of the late 1970s, AFP reports.

The crowd, including Buddhist monks and children, viewed the re-enactment at Choeung Ek -- the most notorious of the regime's "Killing Fields" on the outskirts of Phnom Penh -- where the remains of many victims of the fanatical Maoist regime lie.

Dozens of art students recreated bloody scenes at the emotional event, which was organised by Phnom Penh's authorities.

"My eight-year-old daughter was brutally raped and killed by Khmer Rouge soldiers," said Kim Tin, 64, whose husband was killed by members of the regime and whose nine other children died from starvation.

"The Khmer Rouge were worse than monsters. I will never forget the suffering under the regime," she added.

Up to two million people were executed or died from starvation, overwork or torture during the Khmer Rouge era, which lasted from 1975-79.

A few hundred people, including monks and elderly regime survivors, gathered at Choeung Ek on April 17 this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge coming to power.

Last August the two most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders -- Nuon Chea, 88, known as "Brother Number Two", and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 83 -- were given life sentences for crimes against humanity. Both have appealed.

Their two-year trial focused on the forced evacuation of Cambodians from Phnom Penh into rural labour camps as well as murders at an execution site.

The pair are currently undergoing a second trial, for genocide, centred on the killing of ethnic Vietnamese and Muslim minorities, forced marriage and rape.

In its historic debut trial, the UN-backed court in 2010 sentenced former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, to 30 years in prison -- later increased on appeal to life -- for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.

In March, the court charged three more former Khmer Rouge members with crimes against humanity, ignoring warnings by strongman Cambodian premier Hun Sen -- a mid-ranking regime cadre before he defected -- that further prosecutions risked reigniting conflict.

Cambodians remain divided over how to move forward, with those clamouring for justice countered by others urging reconciliation in a nation where both perpetrators and victims of the regime are still alive.

Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998 without ever facing justice, the Khmer Rouge dismantled modern society in Cambodia in their quest for an agrarian Marxist utopia.


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