It's been more than three decades since the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia and began its ruthless campaign under leader Pol Pot to establish a "utopian society." Though the plight of the Cambodian people became well known, especially through films like The Killing Fields (1984), the surviving members of the Khmer Rouge had never stood trial for their crimes against humanity. Under the communist rule of the Khmer Rouge an estimated 1.2 million Cambodians -- mostly artists and intellectuals -- were killed.
This past February, a U.N.-backed tribunal indicted and is now trying five former Khmer Rouge officials for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the years of 1975-79. While the timing of this tribunal is long overdue, hopefully it will act as some peace of mind for all those who suffered greatly at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. The Boston Globe's "Big Picture" photo blog has a great post about the tribunal from earlier this month. You can read the full post here and check out an excerpt below.
From the Boston Globe:
Last month, Cambodia began a trial for crimes against humanity that took place three decades earlier. The U.N.-backed tribunal has indicted and is now trying five former Khmer Rouge officials for crimes against humanity and war crimes during the years of 1975-79. In that short span, while the Khmer Rouge was in power, an estimated 1.4 million Cambodians died (possibly up to 2 million) due to Khmer policies, which included forced labor, outright executions, starvation, and torture - for an idea of the magnitude, click here for a visualization. All these acts were part of the Khmer Rouge's disastrous effort to dismantle their society and build a communist utopia. Now, 30 years later, Cambodia is still recovering - a young country, with over 50% of the population younger than 25, millions of leftover land mines, extreme poverty and a still-rebuilding agricultural system. Collected here are some recent photos from Cambodia, its people, the tribunal and more. Special thanks to my friend Alicia Conway, currently in Phnom Penh."
Photo caption (above):
Chum Manh, 78, one of the 14 Khmer Rouge prisoners who survived the S-21 torture center (now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum), shows his group photo in the museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on January 31, 2009. The U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal recently opened its first trial where 66-year-old Duch, also known as Kaing Guek Eav, faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and homicide while he ran the S-21 torture centre. (REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea)