Cambodia remembers victims on 'Day of Anger'

2014-05-20 16:41
Cambodian fine arts school students take part in a performance to mark the annual 'Day of Anger' at the Choeung Ek killing fields memorial in Phnom Penh. (Tang Chhin Sothy, AFP)

Cambodian fine arts school students take part in a performance to mark the annual 'Day of Anger' at the Choeung Ek killing fields memorial in Phnom Penh. (Tang Chhin Sothy, AFP)

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Choeung - About 1 000 people on Tuesday marked Cambodia's annual "Day of Anger" against the genocidal former Khmer Rouge regime, with black-clad students wielding hoes and bamboo sticks to mimic their crimes in the late 1970s.

The crowd, including monks and children, watched the re-enactment at the Choeung Ek "Killing Fields" on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the site of mass graves for victims of the 1975-79 fanatical Maoist regime.

Dozens of fine arts students recreated the bloody scenes at the emotional event, which is organised by Phnom Penh authorities.

"The Khmer Rouge regime was very cruel. They killed their own people," said Chik Sarom, aged 60, who lost 10 relatives.

"The regime was like hell on earth. The Khmer Rouge leaders must be sentenced to life in prison," he added.

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

Verdict expected this year

Its two most senior surviving leaders have been brought before a UN-backed court. The hearing has been split into a series of smaller trials, initially focusing on the forced evacuation of people into rural labour camps and related charges of crimes against humanity.

The first trial against "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, aged 87, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, aged 82, was completed late last year.

A verdict is expected in the middle of this year, according to court spokesperson Lars Olsen.

The next trial, for which a date has not been set, will focus on crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide charges.

After its first trial in 2010 the court sentenced former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, to 30 years in prison - increased to life on appeal - for overseeing the death of 15 000 people

Read more on:    un  |  cambodia
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