Cambodia and their Tribunals
Tonight on Circle A Radio, we’ll be talking to Bhavia Wagner, Executive Director of Friends of Cambodia, Activist Lawyer and Asian Reporter Columnist Polo, and we’ll also hear audio from the documentary Cambodian Culture: Death Of A Sideshow: Reclaiming The Shattered Past - produced by Barbara Bernstein in 1987.
April 17th, 1975 the Khmer Rouge marched into Phenom Phen and turned the clock back to year zero.
The Khmer Rouge was one of the most lethal regimes of the 20th century. It was responsible for the deaths of millions of Cambodians Following their leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge imposed an extreme form of social engineering on Cambodian society—a radical form of agrarian communism where the whole population had to work in collective farms or forced labor projects.. One of their mottos, was: "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss."
The Khmer Rouge was overthrown on January 7, 1979 by Vietnamese forces .
The end of the Khmer Rouge period was followed by a civil war, which ended in 1998.
In 1997 the government requested United Nations assistance in establishing a trial to prosecute the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge.
In 2001 the Cambodian National Assembly passed a law to create a court to try serious crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. This court is called the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea. It is a Cambodian court with international participation that will apply international standards. But, for regular citizens of Cambodia these proceedings are beyond their means, financially and emotionally. After over 30 years of war and genocide the citizens of Cambodia are focused on their survival, not engaging in judicial proceedings.