Cambodians will never forget those who died under Khmer Rouge rule.
Just ahead of the Day of Remembrance on May 20, hundreds of people gathered at the “Killing Field” of Choeung Ek on Thursday.
Killing fields are sites in Cambodia where people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime.
Khmer Rouge’s ultra-Maoist revolution lasted from 1975 to 1979. Between 1.7 million and 2.2 million people died under its rule.
Most of them died of starvation, torture, and exhaustion. Others died from disease in labor camps or were bludgeoned to death during mass executions.
At the memorial site, family members of those who died offered prayers and gave alms to monks. Almost every Cambodian alive lost a family member under the Khmer Rouge.
Ceremonies are held at the memorial site to sustain awareness about the country’s history and to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
The decade-old tribunal, known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC), tries those “most responsible” for the killings but has only delivered guilty verdicts to three defendants. Many want the ECCC, which was set up after an agreement between the Cambodian government and the United Nations, to speed up the process, but it has faced strong opposition from the Cambodian government, police, and national investigating judge in pursuing further cases.