Hundreds of Cambodians gathered at the “Killing Field” of Choeung Ek on April 17 to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Khmer Rouge regime taking power.
Every year at this time, opposition party members, survivors, and family members of victims gather there to pray.
Cambodia’s “Killing Fields” are mass grave sites. Each skull represents a person who died under the Khmer Rouge regime.
The Khmer Rouge was a ultra-Maoist organization that was in power from 1975 to 1979.
Over 2 million people were said to have died during that time, which was around a quarter of the country’s population then.
Most were killed in state-sponsored executions. Others died from starvation, torture, exhaustion, or disease in labor camps.
Almost every Cambodian alive lost a family member under the Khmer Rouge’s communist rule.
This is now known as the Cambodian genocide.
A U.N.-backed war crimes court in Cambodia found three people guilty of the genocide after a decade of work. Many said the judicial process is not fast enough and want more accountability.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, in power for 30 years, has warned that more trials could see Cambodia spiral into civil war.