Khmer Rouge chief 'flees genocide trial'

By Kate Thomas

Published: 13 July 2006

One of the architects of the Khmer Rouge genocide that killed some two million Cambodians has been spotted leaving his home in a truck packed with household goods, prompting a denial from his children that he is "running away" from a UN-backed tribunal.

Khieu Samphan, the former Khmer Rouge head of state, was seen leaving his home in northwestern Cambodia on Tuesday, a day after prosecutors began collecting evidence for the long-awaited tribunal of the Khmer Rouge's former leaders.

Khieu Samphan is approaching 75 and said to be in frail health. He is expected to be among those tried for crimes against humanity in the course of the tribunal, which is expected to last five years.

When the trial begins next year, the first in the dock will be the high-ranking Khmer Rouge officials Ta Mok and Khaing Khev Iek - known as Duch and who ran Phnom Penh's main detention centre, S21. Both are in prison in Phnom Penh. Pol Pot's "Brother Number Two", Nuon Chea; the former foreign minister Ieng Sary; and Mr Khieu live freely in Cambodia. Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge's fanatical leader, died in 1998.

Khieu Samphan's daughter Rattana would not say why her father had left but said he and his wife had arrived in Battambang, about 50 miles from their home in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold. "He's not running anywhere," Khieu Rattana said. "He has no remorse in his life because he believes he has done everything for the nation."

In a conflicting statement, the couple's son said his parents were staying with him in Anlong Veng, a one-time Khmer Rouge hideout on the Thai border. Khieu Samphan departure is indicative of the apprehension surrounding the long-awaited tribunal, aimed at prosecuting leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those most responsible for the crimes committed during its rule from 1975 to 1979. Whether justice will be achieved is difficult to predict. Most of the officials to be tried are ageing.

While some are reluctant to stand trial, others are eager to tell their story. "I will be glad to go, so that people in my country and other countries will know the truth of what happened. Whatever they ask, I will tell them," Nuon Chea said this week.

It has taken nine years of negotiations to reach a point at which the country is ready to bring the regime to justice, markedly because the government has not wanted the tribunal to threaten many of its senior officials who are former members of the Khmer Rouge, including the current Prime Minister, Hun Sen, who is not directly implicated in the atrocities.

Last week, 17 Cambodian and 10 UN-appointed judges were sworn in in the Cambodian capital. For most the country, the trial, expected to begin next year, cannot come soon enough. "We need to make sense of our history before we can move on and heal, and documenting and understanding our shared experiences is a small step in that direction." Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, said. Establishing a principle of accountability in Cambodia has been difficult; most of the Khmer Rouge officials who are still alive say they had no choice. And so for too long the country has buried the crimes of the regime with the skeletons of the killing fields. In 1999, Hun Sen said the only way to move forward was to "dig a hole, and bury the past".

Six years on, Cambodia is as ready to face its past as it is ever going to be. Mr Chhang said: "The perpetrators need a trial most of all. It will help them to understand what they did."

If you have questions, or would like more information, please leave your name and contact information.

Secure your VIP ticket today at www.cambodianmusicfestival.com and join us in counting down to a night full of exclusive private performances, music, and art in one of the most breathtaking venues in Laguna Beach!

$200/person - one VIP ticket gives you access to VIP Pre-Party at 7 Degrees in Laguna Beach on Friday, 7/24/15 AND reserved seating within the first ten rows at the Cambodian Music Festival in Anaheim at the Pearson Park Amphitheater on Saturday, 7/25/15.

($50/person - General admission to the Cambodian Music Festival)

**Even though you are purchasing your ticket online, you will still receive your physical ticket in the mail. Ticket must be presented at the day of the music festival to gain entry. 

CAMBODIA TOWN FILM FETIVAL 2015 tickets now on sale GET IT NOW!

One of the key purposes of Cambodian Town Film Festival (CTTF) is to highlight the diversity of the Cambodian experience through the art of filmmaking. By specifically featuring films that deal with Cambodian social political conflicts, traditions, challenges and characters, the Festival will deepen Cambodian values and encourage new dialogue on a global scale. THE CLOCK IS COUNTING DOWN TO OUR EVENT >>>  BUY TICKETS NOW - CLICK HERE 

COLLECTOR DIGITAL ART to Honor the 40 Year Remembrance of the Khmer Rouge's invasion of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The artwork is printed on a high gloss wooden board and make a great wall art decoration. *Collector's Edition - ONLY (40) are printed and signed by the artist. BUY IT NOW (CLICK HERE) 

Angkor Wat Starry Night Reprints

Angkor Wat Starry Night Canvas Print 11x17

These are reproduction of an oil painting done by Ponnamy Kiep reprinted on a canvas with a theme inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night.

In Remembrance of 40 Years CTFF Limited Collector's Edition Dog Tag - Only $10 - CLICK HERE

April 17, 1975 is a day all Cambodians remember. It was the day the Khmer Rouge regime overtook Phnom Penh, an event that ignited a horrific genocide that killed nearly 2 million innocent lives and affected an infinite more.

In rememberance of all those that fought for freedom, those who survived, and those we have lost, Cambodia Town Film Festival has created this Limited Collector's Edition Dog Tag.

PAULINA a film by Caylee So
Now on DVD, own this Award Winning film for only $10 - Click Here

Immersed in a vibrant world where bets and wagers are a part of everyday living, 17 year old Paulina has found herself attracted to the game; a love understood and shared by her father, Sam, and an avid community of Cambodian gamblers. Met with strong disapproval from her sister Sopheap, Paulina remains strongly tied to the community. But soon she finds herself in the midst of her father’s war with addiction, and the realities of this world is unmasked; Paulina must inevitably choose between the world she is drawn to and the life she might someday want.

Site Mailing List  Sign Guest Book  View Guest Book