The Pol Pot Khmer Rouge(Red) Cambodia War 1975-1978

Pol Pot in 1978











The Driwan’s  Cybermuseum


Dr Iwan Cambodia War Cybermuseum

Showroom :

Pol Pot_Small.jpg (51452 bytes)

The Pol Pot Khmer Rouge(red) Cambodia War 1975-1978

A.Chronologic Historic Collections




1975, the U.S. had withdrawn its troops from Vietnam. Cambodia’s government, plagued by corruption and incompetence, also lost its American military support. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army, consisting of teenage peasant guerrillas, marched into Phnom Penh and on April 17 effectively seized control of Cambodia.

Once in power, Pol Pot began a radical experiment to create an agrarian utopia inspired in part by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution which he had witnessed first-hand during a visit to Communist China.

Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” economic program included forced evacuations of Chinese cities and the purging of “class enemies.” Pol Pot would now attempt his own “Super Great Leap Forward” in Cambodia, which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea.

He began by declaring, “This is Year Zero,” and that society was about to be “purified.” Capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences were to be extinguished in favor of an extreme form of peasant Communism.

All foreigners were thus expelled, embassies closed, and any foreign economic or medical assistance was refused. The use of foreign languages was banned. Newspapers and television stations were shut down, radios and bicycles confiscated, and mail and telephone usage curtailed. Money was forbidden. All businesses were shuttered, religion banned, education halted, health care eliminated, and parental authority revoked. Thus Cambodia was sealed off from the outside world.

All of Cambodia’s cities were then forcibly evacuated. At Phnom Penh, two million inhabitants were evacuated on foot into the countryside at gunpoint. As many as 20,000 died along the way.

Millions of Cambodians accustomed to city life were now forced into slave labor in Pol Pot’s “killing fields” where they soon began dying from overwork, malnutrition and disease, on a diet of one tin of rice (180 grams) per person every two days.

Workdays in the fields began around 4 a.m. and lasted until 10 p.m., with only two rest periods allowed during the 18 hour day, all under the armed supervision of young Khmer Rouge soldiers eager to kill anyone for the slightest infraction. Starving people were forbidden to eat the fruits and rice they were harvesting. After the rice crop was harvested, Khmer Rouge trucks would arrive and confiscate the entire crop.

Ten to fifteen families lived together with a chairman at the head of each group. All work decisions were made by the armed supervisors with no participation from the workers who were told, “Whether you live or die is not of great significance.” Every tenth day was a day of rest. There were also three days off during the Khmer New Year festival.

Throughout Cambodia, deadly purges were conducted to eliminate remnants of the “old society” – the educated, the wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and former government officials. Ex-soldiers were killed along with their wives and children. Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot, including eventually many Khmer Rouge leaders, was shot or bludgeoned with an ax. “What is rotten must be removed,” a Khmer Rouge slogan proclaimed.

In the villages, unsupervised gatherings of more than two persons were forbidden. Young people were taken from their parents and placed in communals. They were later married in collective ceremonies involving hundreds of often-unwilling couples.

Up to 20,000 persons were tortured into giving false confessions at Tuol Sleng, a school in Phnom Penh which had been converted into a jail. Elsewhere, suspects were often shot on the spot before any questioning.

Ethnic groups were attacked including the three largest minorities; the Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cham Muslims, along with twenty other smaller groups. Fifty percent of the estimated 425,000 Chinese living in Cambodia in 1975 perished. Khmer Rouge also forced Muslims to eat pork and shot those who refused.

.(1) April 1975

The Khmer Rouge force captured Phnom Penh in April 1975; then evacuated the city and began a radical revolutionary experiment. Under Pol Pot leadership, the Khmer Rouge are responsible for the death of over a million and a half Cambodians, and the near total destruction of Cambodia’s social, economic, and cultural foundations.

The Khmer Rouge force captured Phnom Penh in April 1975; then evacuated the city and began a radical revolutionary experiment. Under Pol Pot leadership, the Khmer Rouge are responsible for the death of over a million and a half Cambodians, and the near total destruction of Cambodia’s social, economic, and cultural foundations.polpot2_Small.jpg (6048 bytes)

After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, Pol Pot and the remnants of the Khmer Rouge forces escaped to the Thai border where, with support from ASEAN and China, they set up resistance against the Vietnamese troops and the Vietnamese backed government in Phnom Penh. Throughout the 1980s and the first half of 1990s, Pol Pot continued to exercise leadership over the Khmer Rouge guerrilla forces. He is believed to play a crucial role in influencing the movement to participate in the negotiation leading to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement and also to the subsequently boycott of the peace process and the elections supervised by UNTAC.

(2) September,1975

In September 1975, the government formed a Supreme National Council with new leadership, with the aim of negotiating a surrender to the Khmer Rouge. It was headed by Sak Sutsakhan who had studied in France with Saloth and was cousin to the Khmer Rouge Deputy Secretary Nuon Chea.

NumChea.jpg (14233 bytes)

Saloth’s reaction to this was to add the names of everyone involved to his post-victory death list. Government resistance finally collapsed on September 17, 1975.


(3)Children in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge

Figure 15 Drawing by a Cambodian child depicting events under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, a period that lasted from 1975 to 1979.


In 1975, Pol Pot’s army, the Khmer Rouge, took over Cambodia and attempted to enforce an extreme Maoist communist regime, replacing all that went before. They restarted the calendar, renaming 1975 Year Zero. Their regime was murderous and, over the next four years, over 1 million Cambodians were killed and up to another 2 million died from starvation or exhaustion. The Khmer Rouge emptied the cities of people, forcing everyone to live off the land. Professionals, those who knew a foreign language and, at one time, even those who wore glasses were murdered. Much of this was accomplished by indoctrinating children and forcing them to denounce and kill suspect adults. Family life was discouraged and repressed. Everyone was forced to live in communal work camps, but at the age of eight most children were sent away to live with other children under two or three senior Khmer Rouge officials. Traditional norms of respect for elders were suppressed and the ‘Comrade Child’ was praised as being ‘pure and unsullied by the corrupt past of the adults’ (Ponchaud, 1977, p. 143). Special spy units, Kang Chhlop, were composed mainly of children and were used to spy on adults. One Cambodian woman recalled the power given to children under the Khmer Rouge:

In the Pol Pot times children could catch an adult if they thought they had done wrong. They could beat the adult. For example, if an adult was caught stealing fruit a child could tell the soldiers: ‘look they are our enemies’. Then the soldiers would set a chair for the child to stand on so that they could beat the adult’s head.

(Boyden and Gibbs, 1997, p. 44)

Children rose quickly up the ranks of the Khmer Rouge and it was not unusual for children to be in charge of workcamps at the age of twelve. Camps run by these children became notorious for the extreme and arbitrary violence inflicted on the inmates. Children, even more than adults, appeared particularly cruel. Even after Cambodia was liberated in 1979 by the Vietnamese, there remained a ‘residual fear of children’ in the country (Boyden and Gibbs, 1997, p. 98).

Figure 16 Children in contemporary rural Cambodia. Despite the tranquillity of this scene, researchers in contemporary Cambodia talk of a ‘residual fear’ of children caused by the atrocities committed by children under the Khmer Rouge.


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Between 1976-1978, Heng Samrin served as political commissary and commander of Democratic Kampuchea’s fourth division stationed in the eastern zone.

(1) January,5th.1976

A new constitution was adopted on January 5, 1976, officially altering the country’s name to “Democratic Kampuchea”.  

(2) April,11th-13th,1976

The newly established Representative Assembly held its first plenary meeting on April 11 – 13, electing a new government with Pol Pot as prime minister.

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His predecessor, Khieu Samphan was instead given the position of head of state as President of the State Presidium.



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Prince Sihanouk was given no role in the government and was placed under detention.

Immediately after the fall of Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge began to implement their concept of Year Zero and ordered the complete evacuation of Phnom Penh and all other recently captured major towns and cities. Those leaving were told that the evacuation was due to the threat of severe American bombing and it would last for no more than a few days.

(3) Pol Pot Caricature and Poster “Life In Pol Pot Regime”

Cartoon by V. Sina

“Life In Pol Pot Regime” a Poem in Khmer by Ly Monisa
Cartoon by V. Sina

3. 1977

 (1) May,4th.1977

the native cambodian language letter send from Angkar’s special hospital  to his daughter(may be this the Pol Pot letters beacuse he always called Angkar,please the historian confirm this via comment)


you have to read your siblings to join the cooperative of collective peasant under under the sore and rightful leadership of Communist Party of kampuchea in order to fight  against the enemy and build up the socialism of  Democratic Kampuchea properousity with pace of super great help.

Chea saved with champa, chea into khmer while your mother stayed in exile and gouvermnet in (? not clear) district(?not clear). You do not to into(?) them because it is very difficult to work hard and develop yourself and your sibling with the movement of collectivism under the party leacdership.You should live with your aunt because she is frequently ill and no one look after her, everyone shall live in the village cooperative.

I would like to say goodbye to you my beloved daughter with endless revance and class revance on the imperialist,the CIA, the Vietnamese expanssionist, and KGB until last breath, I would like to kiss you from a distance and unwillingly part of you with great pain.

The wise and connect policies of Communist Party of Kampuchea with a super great heap foward.


Angkar’s special hospital

From your father.

(Amizing collections which informed us the sound of the communist leader hart,please comment)



Tuol Sleng Survivor Paints Pictures Of His Torture

by Richard S. Ehrlich
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Vann Nath says he can testify at such a trial and reveal “what I saw and experienced, and what went on in S-21, and I can talk about the prison and what went on there.” © Copyright by Richard S. EhrlichBANGKOK, Thailand — Vann Nath is one of seven survivors of Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng torture chambers, and escaped when Pol Pot’s “killing fields” regime suddenly collapsed in 1979.

Vann Nath is also an artist, and painted graphic pictures of communist Khmer Rouge extracting “confessions” from victims before dumping an estimated 16,000 corpses from Tuol Sleng into more than 100 mass graves.

“Some of my paintings were scenes that I witnessed myself, some were scenes that I heard but did not see, and some were scenes that victims asked me to paint for them, which they had experienced,” Vann Nath said in Khmer language during an interview while visiting Bangkok.

One of his paintings shows Khmer Rouge guerrillas swinging a baby by its tiny legs against a blood-stained palm tree, to smash the infant to death.

“That one came from someone who directly saw that, and he requested that I paint that painting,” Vann Nath said.

The Khmer Rouge often killed people by beating or starving them to death, to save precious bullets.

Vann Nath said his other paintings document torture he witnessed while imprisoned at Tuol Sleng, which the Khmer Rouge dubbed “S-21”, in the heart of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.

“One scene that I myself saw, with my own eyes, is of a man with no clothes who is being carried on a stick like an animal, and others where people are being beaten, and some of the torture,” he said, referring to his large paintings.

Traumatized and gaunt, Vann Nath was lucky to emerge alive, thanks to a 1979 blitzkrieg invasion by Vietnamese troops which forced Pol Pot back into the jungle.

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“While getting lashes or electrification, you must not cry at all…if you disobey any point of my regulations, you will get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.” © Copyright by Richard S. EhrlichPol Pot died in 1998, after enjoying indirect American support in the 1980s when his ousted Khmer Rouge provided most of the killers in a coalition of Cambodian guerrillas, who helped force Vietnam end its 10-year occupation of Cambodia in 1989.

Today, white-haired Vann Nath, 61, has built a new life, complete with an e-mail address, mobile phone and other modest symbols of success, though he suffers severe kidney disease and undergoes dialysis.

When the U.S. lost the Vietnam War and retreated from neighboring Cambodia in 1975, Pol Pot seized Phnom Penh and force-marched the capital’s population into the jungle, claiming the Americans might bomb the city in revenge, and kill everyone.

Historians and analysts, however, say Pol Pot’s real motive may have been to hack apart urban resistance to his rural-based guerrillas, and use his fellow Cambodians as slaves to rebuild irrigation canals, roads, and other infrastructure which was destroyed by heavy U.S. aerial bombardment during the war.

Tuol Sleng was formerly a high school during Cambodia’s corrupt, U.S.-backed Lon Nol regime.

The Khmer Rouge carved the classrooms into torture chambers and prison cells by bricking up rooms and installing metal shackles.

Vann Nath said he languished for about one month in Tuol Sleng in 1978, accused of offending the regime, before the Khmer Rouge decided they needed an artist to paint official portraits and chisel busts of Pol Pot.

As a result, they unlocked Vann Nath’s shackles and demanded he paint several official portraits of Pol Pot, amid the screams of other inmates undergoing interrogations all around him.

Emaciated from a diet of gruel, and using photographs of the secretive Pol Pot to copy, he painted to stay alive while expecting execution.

He never met Pol Pot.

Nor did he meet Michael Scott Deeds, from Long Beach, California, who was caught in 1978 sailing off Cambodia’s coast, and executed in Tuol Sleng as an alleged American spy, along with several other foreigners seized in Phnom Penh during Pol Pot’s reign.

During the one year Vann Nath endured in the squalid prison, he often saw excruciating, medieval-style torture inflicted on inmates in Tuol Sleng.

After his escape, he picked up his brushes and colors again, and painted the reality of what happened inside Tuol Sleng.

Ironically, some of Vann Nath’s most gruesome paintings currently hang near his cell, in what is now a tourist site called The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

Walls in the museum also display black-and-white identification photos of some inmates, who the Khmer Rouge photographed at the prison.

Also displayed are some inmates’ skulls.

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Tuol Sleng was formerly a high school up until the end of the U.S.-backed Lon Nol regime, which was overthrown by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in 1975 when defeated American forces retreated from Cambodia, at the end of the U.S.-Vietnam War. © Copyright by Richard S. EhrlichInside the museum, a sign translated into English lists “the security regulations” told to each prisoner, including the warning:

“Don’t be a fool, for you are a chap who dares to thwart the revolution. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.

“While getting lashes or electrification, you must not cry at all…if you disobey any point of my regulations, you will get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge,” the sign warns.

The Cambodian government, along with the United Nations and other powers, insist a tribunal is belatedly being set up to determine the guilt of a handful of elderly Khmer Rouge leaders, even though Pol Pot is dead.

Vann Nath said he can testify at such a trial and reveal “what I saw and experienced, and what went on in S-21.”





(1) May,1978

Heng Samrin  In May 1978  was involved in a failed rebellion against Pol Pot’s leadership and fled to Vietnam to escape political purge

 (2)The Khmer Rouge was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, The regime led by the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979 was known as the Democratic Kampuchea.

The Khmer Rouge subjected Cambodia to a radical social reform process that was aimed at creating a purely agrarian-based Communist society. The city-dwellers were deported to the countryside, where they were combined with the local population and subjected to forced labor. About 2 million Cambodians are estimated to have died in waves of murder, torture, and starvation, aimed particularly at the educated and intellectual elite.

Losing power following a Vietnamese military intervention in December 1978, the Khmer Rouge maintained control in some regions and continued to fight on as guerrillas. In 1998 their final stronghold, in Anlong Veng District, fell to the government.

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 labour projects. In terms of the number of people killed as a proportion of the population (est. 7.1 million people, as of 1975), it was the most lethal regime of the 20th century.


 (3)December ,1978

Heng Samrin_Small.jpg (42768 bytes)Heng Samrin 

 He was little known until his installation as the president of the National United Front for National Salvation by the Vietnamese in whose name the Vietnamese used to justified its invasion of Cambodia in December 1978.


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After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, Pol Pot and the remnants of the Khmer Rouge forces escaped to the Thai border where, with support from ASEAN and China, they set up resistance against the Vietnamese troops and the Vietnamese backed government in Phnom Penh. Throughout the 1980s and the first half of 1990s, Pol Pot continued to exercise leadership over the Khmer Rouge guerrilla forces. He is believed to play a crucial role in influencing the movement to participate in the negotiation leading to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement and also to the subsequently boycott of the peace process and the elections supervised by UNTAC


(2) December,25th,1978

On December 25, 1978, Vietnam launched a full-scale invasion of Cambodia seeking to end Khmer Rouge border attacks



1.January,7 th .1979 

On January 7, 1979, Phnom Penh fell and Pol Pot was deposed. The Vietnamese then installed a puppet government consisting of Khmer Rouge defectors.

Pol Pot retreated into Thailand with the remnants of his Khmer Rouge army and began a guerrilla war against a succession of Cambodian governments lasting over the next 17 years. After a series of internal power struggles in the 1990s, he finally lost control of the Khmer Rouge. In April 1998, 73-year-old Pol Pot died of an apparent heart attack following his arrest, before he could be brought to trial by an international tribunal for the events of 1975-79.

2.Vietnam (target: Cambodia) 1979-91

Personnel of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia mission

We saw in chapter five of the book that both Cambodia and South Vietnam had been U.S. client states up until the spring of 1975. At that point, Cambodia fell under the control of the Khmer Rouge (KR) which, almost immediately after coming to power, carried out mass murders of hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of its fellow citizens, and which finally was overthrown by a Vietnamese invasion. To U.S. policy makers, Vietnam’s action was inexcusable: not only had the regime in Hanoi been victorious over the U.S. in South Vietnam, but it had recently signed a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union and was bitterly opposed by China, with whom the U.S. was collaborating. Hence, it became U.S. policy “to get Vietnamese troops out of Cambodia.” At first, U.S. action took the form of denunciations, votes to keep Cambodia’s UN seat in the hands of the KR, and barely concealed support for a punitive Chinese attack on Vietnam. Soon, when it became clear the the KR had regrouped and was carrying out a guerrilla war against the Vietnamese, the U.S. began to aid the KR by various means: humanitarian aid distributed along Cambodia’s border with Thailand (the bulk of this was grabbed by the KR); and clear indications to the Thais and the Chinese that the U.S. was “not against military aid … to the Cambodian rebels.” Two years later, the U.S. helped to engineer a coalition government (CGDK) uniting the KR and other anti-Vietnam groups and began a policy of providing covert “non-lethal” aid to the non-KR parts of the coalition; this was a barely disguised way of sending weapons, since the aid was traded for military supplies, especially from Thailand, which was then receiving sharply increased levels of U.S. military assistance. In addition, the non-communist forces engaged in what the White House delicately termed “tactical military cooperation” with the much larger KR guerrillas. Finally, there is some evidence that the U.S. may have had direct ties with the KR.

American policy began to unravel later in the 1980s. Congress, officially ignorant of U.S. covert aid and of the links between the KR and other rebel groups, had authorized overt “lethal” aid to the latter. Word of the other U.S. efforts began to leak out, making it impossible to continue the fiction that the U.S. could continue aiding the noncommunist groups without any incidence on the KR. Furthermore, Vietnam had managed to install a sufficiently robust regime in Cambodia for it to withdraw its troops; some months later, the leader of the noncommunist forces began to negotiate with the regime in Phnom Penh (SOC). To continue the war at this point would involve overt association with the KR against a regime which was no longer backed by foreign troops. Hence, the U.S. switched tactics, announced it no longer recognized the CGDK as Cambodia’s legitimate government, that it would begin talks with Vietnam, and that it would send humanitarian aid directly to the SOC. The U.S. shift unsettled its Cambodian, Southeast Asian, and Chinese partners but led to a UN-brokered peace agreement calling for “cessation of outside military assistance” and, eventually, the formation of a widely recognized coalition government made up of SOC and noncommunist elements. The KR, disadvantaged on electoral terrain, chose to keep fighting, thereby forfeiting U.S. support, and soon found itself torn apart by commercial and political temptations. 1


B.Cambodian Genocide

Cambodian Genocide

By: Ryan LeguidLeguid, Gabe Mulingtapang, Lauryn Lau, Jessica Matias, & Michael Radich
Ryan Leguidleguid: History and Region, Groups in Control, and Pictures
Gabe Mulingtapang: What ended the genocide, Videos, Co-organizer and Conclusion
Lauryn Lau: Introduction, Groups Targeted, and Decorations/Pictures
Jessica Matias: World Response (During and After), Pictures/Videos, and Organizer
Michael Radich: Period After, Say Cheese, and Pictures



I. Introduction

“It is important for me that the new generation of Cambodians and Cambodian Americans become active and tell the world what happened to them and their families … I want them never to forget the faces of their relatives and friends who were killed during that time. The dead are crying out for justice.” –Dith Pran, a survivor of the Cambodian Genocide. It is vital that we educate one another about the cruel and harsh period of the Cambodian Genocide.

What is a genocide? A genocide is the systematic killing of an entire people. The Cambodian Genocide is acknowledged as one of the worst tragedies during the last century. This massive invasion occurred in 1975 to 1979 in the Kingdom of Cambodia, now known as Kampuchea. Beginning in 1975, the Khmer Rouge, a small Communist group under the leadership of Pol Pot, took over the country. This was the start of this mass destruction known as the Cambodian Genocide. All educated and intellectual people, children, babies, extended families, or anyone who disobeyed the new regulations were starved to death, tortured, executed, mistreated and murdered.
A Khmer slogan read, “To spare you is no profit, to destroy you is no loss.” The Khmer Rouge had NO MERCY. Could the people of Cambodia escape this affliction?























II. History & Region


Cambodia is found on mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand and Vietnam. It also shares a land border with Laos. Cambodia has a seacoast where the Gulf of Thailand is. The Dangrek mountain range to the north and the Cardamom Mountains to the Southwest are natural boundaries for Cambodia. Cambodia is still one of the most heavily forested countries within that region, and other physical features include the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong and Bassac Rivers.

Cambodia’s population is Mostly Cambodian but other ethnicities include Chinese, Vietnamese, various hill tribes, Cham, and Lao. Khmer is the official language of the country. Theravada Buddhism is the most practiced in the country but other religions practiced are Islam, Animism, and Christianity. French and English are now increasingly popular in urban areas and popular as a second language.

Cambodia was fairy rich and powerful under the Hindu state of Funan and the Kingdom of Angkor, but in the mid 19th century Cambodia was about to collapse. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate under France after many requests for assistance. In 1884, Cambodia was basically a colony, and soon became part of the Indochina Union with Annam, Tonkin, Cochin-China, and Laos. France was still able to keep control of the country even after the start of World War II. In 1945, the Japanese took over the colonial administration, King Norodom Sihanouk declared an independent, anti-colonial government under the prime minister Son Ngoc Thanh in March 1945. The allies put a stop to this government in October of that year. In January 1953, King Sihanouk named his father as administer of the country and went into exile, claiming not to return until Cambodia gained independence.

Through Sihanouk’s actions, French government was inclined to grant independence. Independence came on November 9, 1953, this was uncertain until a conference was held at Geneva to settle the French-Indochina war. The Cambodian delegation then agreed to the neutrality of the three Indochinese states but also wanted a provision on a ceasefire which allowed the government to called for military assistance if Viet Minh or others were to threaten the territory.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Cambodia’s policy with foreigners was neutrality. By the mid 1960s Cambodia’s eastern provinces served as military bases for both the NVA and the VC. In 1969 the United states became worried about Northern Vietnamese activities and began to bomb areas within Cambodia. Throughout these times, opposition grew between the middle class and the leftist, Paris educated leaders.

In March 1970, General Lon Nol overthrew Prince Sihanouk and took power. On October 9th, the Cambodian monarchy was abolished, and the country was now named the Khmer Republic. The republic’s request to have the withdrawal of the NVA/VC troops from territory was denied. At this point the new government was at war with the Khmer Rouge insurgents and the Northern Vietnam armies. Cambodia was supplied and supported by the United States but it still wasn’t the enough to keep Vietnam from going into deeper Cambodian territory.

The Republic’s leadership had disunity among many of its members, problems coming up from trying to make a larger army, and the spread of corruption. Insurgency began to grow, with supplies and military support by North Vietnam. Inside Cambodia, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary began to assert their dominance over the Vietnamese, many of which were killed. Khmer Rouge forces began to gain more power. Lon Nol’s control was reduced to small enclaves around cities by 1974.

On New Year’s Eve 1975, the communist Khmer Rouge launched an attack that in 117 days of the hardest fighting, the Khmer republic was destroyed. Simultaneous attacks pinned the republic forces while other Khmer Rouge forces attacked bases and took trade routes. The U.S. left Cambodia five days after the surrender of the Republic on April 17, 1975.


III. Groups in control


Pol Pot
Pol Pot

The Khmer Rouge soon turned Cambodia in a land of fear and horror, called Democratic Kampuchea. Right after the victory, the regime ordered an evacuation of the cities in urban areas and forced everyone to work on the land. Those who resisted or who questioned orders were immediately executed. The country’s entire population is forced to work in agricultural collectives, now known as the killing fields.

The people who were in control were the Paris educated leaders. Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea, and Son Sen. Pol Pot was made the Prime Minister. Pol Pot’s was a very powerful central committee called “Angkar.” After taking control of the city Phnom Penh, Pot declares the “Year Zero.” With this he made a plan in order to purify the Cambodian society of capitalism, western culture, religion and all foreign influences. He wanted to create an isolated complete self sufficient Maoist agrarian state.

It was said that Pol Pot wanted to bring a “Utopian Society” to Cambodia, In order to reach that perfect society, he believed that the people had to live on the same level as peasants. It is also said Pol Pot did not want to get overthrown and he believed that the only people that could do that were the educated, and intellectuals. The “Year Zero” was supposed to make everything that happened prior to the year 1975 irrelevant, and the only people who would oppose that idea were the teachers and those who backed the Republic.

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IV. Groups Targeted


During this time Pol Pot and his communist party, Khmer Rouge, yearned to reconstruct Cambodia into a land similar to the communist model of Mao’s China. They wanted the country to resemble collective farms rather than cities and towns. As a result, all urban areas were demolished. Schools, hospitals, and factories were closed, banks were destroyed, religions were prohibited, and all private property was taken away from owners. In a short amount of time, the people who lived in the cities of Cambodia were threatened and told to evacuate the country. Mercy was not spared among the ill, old, or young. All people who did not leave their homes or did not evacuate quick enough, for any reason, were killed. All other residents were forced to work agricultural labor on the grueling collective farms. Anyone thought to be against the new regulations or anyone who disobeyed orders was killed. In order to reinforce the new rural country, Khmer Rouge wished to demolish everything he thought to be un-communist. All intellectuals or people who showed any sign of education were killed as well. Every other individual was put to work as farmers. The Khmer Rouge put an end to all political and civil rights of Cambodia. Young children were separated from their parents to work in different labor camps. All educated people who worked as lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists, people who fought in the army, and etc. were killed. Anyone who showed any sign of intelligence such as wearing glasses or knowing a foreign language was executed. Along with the educated citizens, the educated citizens’ innocent extended family members were murdered as well. Because all religions were eliminated, Buddhist monks were killed. Half of the people who were Cham Muslim and about eight thousand Christians were killed. The Khmer Rouge also removed the temples in which the Buddhists reflected their religion. Music and radios were against the new order. Anyone found having connection with these products was killed. The Khmer Rouge was extremely racist toward Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and any Cambodians with Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai ancestry. As a result, people of these races were eliminated as well. As expected, leaders of the Khmer Rouge were scared of losing power or having their opponents turn on them. Rather than working together as a civil party, they executed any persons who had any relation to sabotaging the group. During the Cambodian genocide, random people were also killed for merely laughing or crying.

People who were spared and not murdered worked as laborers on the collective farms. They were did not get paid, but worked extremely long hours both morning and night. They were not rewarded with comfortable homes to rest during their time away from work, but instead ate and slept in intolerable communes. These communes were built as total opposites to their original home. Because of the rough labor on the farms, people became weak or became ill and soon died. Many of the people also starved to death because they were not given any food to energize their body after all their hard work.

How were they targeted?
In 1977, the food supply was extremely low and famine most likely occurred among the people. Many people starved to death or became extremely weak and ill. At the time, there was no medical care provided. Many building were reconstructed into prisons where the Khmer Rouge tortured their victims. One prison named Tuol Sleng (also known as S-21) was intended to force prisoners to confess to the crime in which they were being accused. Daily, prisoners were beaten and tortured with certain devices. The Khmer Rouge enjoyed using electric shocks, hot metal instruments and hanging. They also cut victims with knives, suffocated them with plastic bags, pulled out their fingernails while pouring alcohol on the open wound, or drowned them under water. Although rape was against the rules, men often raped the women.

The other people of Cambodia worked on the fields where life was extremely harsh. These fields were known as Pol Pot’s “killing fields”. Many laborers died from overwork, exhaustion, malnutrition, disease, illnesses, and etc. Laborers worked as farmers on the field from around 4 a.m. to about 10 p.m. with only two short breaks. All laborers were tortured because although their bodies were starving, they were not allowed to eat the fruits or rice they harvested. They often starved to death because they were only given a tin of rice, which was only 180 grams, every other day. Workers worked under the eyes of the ruthless Khmer Rouge soldiers. These soldiers gladly killed anyone who did not work hard enough or anyone who made the tiniest mistake. The soldiers beat, mistreated, and tortured the workers. The Cambodian people were pretty much forced into slavery. When the long workday ended, workers stayed in unsuitable little stalls. Their space was the exact opposite of a comfortable home. Here, workers often caught diseases and illnesses, which lead to their death.

The children labor camps were not much better. Children worked long shifts too and lived with many other children. Disease was extremely high as children had little food and a contaminated water supply. Children shared water with the animals. Measles killed many children within 3-5 days. In the beginning, they would receive high fever, and then diarrhea, and then death. Many little graves were created.

All other people who did not even make it to the fields were executed, murdered, eliminated from Cambodia. Most likely they were shot and their skulls and bones or bodies lay on the ground. Others were forced to organize the millions of skulls and bones into a pile or bin. Bones of arms and legs were found everywhere during this time. Many others were buried in mass graves.

How many people were targeted?
Upon the four years during the Cambodian genocide, the Khmer Rouge is responsible for the deaths of more than 1.7 million people. A total of 21% of the Cambodian population was killed. This means the Cambodian population consisted of 8 million people, but lost 1.7 million to 2.5 million.

“I see … a pile of skulls and bones. For the first time since my arrival, what I see before me is too painful, and I break down completely. These are my relatives, friends and neighbors, I keep thinking … It is a long time before I am calm again. And then I am able, with my bare hands, to rearrange the skulls and bones so that they are not scattered about.” –Dith Pran, a survivor of the Cambodian Genocide.


Photographs were taken of victims before execution.

The look on the faces of these people is extremely saddening. These photographs were taken of people that were about to be executed. These people knew when they would die based on if a picture was taken of them. So if someone took a picture of them, the person that is being photographed knew that he/she would be executed. This philosophy of taken pictures before execution terrified many people and is probably the most inhumane thing that anyone can do.


VI. What ended the Cambodian genocide?




The Khmer Rouge period ended when Cambodia’s former ally, Vietnam, took over Cambodia in the Cambodian-Vietnamese War.

Dust and Bones

War crimes tribunal for Cambodia proves elusive

By Bill Myers ( Phnom Penh, Cambodia—)

Many Cambodians seek a military tribunal for the war crimes of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, seen here shortly after capture by Vietnamese troops in 1979.

As a boy, Phann Ana found the bodies of his uncle and father where the Khmer Rouge had left them: under a compost pile near his family’s home. “The bodies were badly decomposed—just bones, really,” says Phann Ana, a 32-year-old writer. “But my mother recognized my father by his pants, and my aunt recognized my uncle by his lighter.”

The family scooped up the mounds of splintered bones and tattered rags and cremated them. In their Buddhist faith, the ceremony, long delayed, brought spiritual peace. But it did not bring justice. Phann Ana—and millions of Cambodians—are still waiting for that. “It will not happen,” he says of efforts to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to trial. “I don’t think so.”

The long-promised tribunal to try those responsible for one of the 20th century’s worst human rights disasters now seems as far away as ever.

The Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia into its private labor camp in 1975. For nearly four years, the “Angka”—the organization—played out its anti-modern, xenophobic, utopian ideals on Cambodian people. An estimated 1.7 million died from overwork, disease, starvation or execution.

Since 1997, efforts to create a tribunal to bring the Khmer Rouge leaders to justice have stalled as Cambodia slipped back into civil war or quarreled with the United Nations over sovereignty and the selection of defendants.

In the meantime, all but one of the remaining Khmer Rouge leadership lives, in the words of Peter Leuprecht, the top U.N. human rights official, “peacefully and prosperously” in the Cambodian countryside.

It is a long way from last August, when both sides were finally ready to start negotiations and convene an unprecedented tribunal of Cambodian and international judges to prosecute those “most responsible” for the “most serious” atrocities in the Khmer Rouge era. Back then, even skeptics like Phann Ana were allowing words like “when” to replace “if” in their vocabulary. Now, even as the United States and other countries pressure the United Nations to come back to the negotiating table, only recriminations remain. “It’s clear it was never a priority for either side,” says Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

Youk Chhang, a Cambodian-American who lost most of his family to the Khmer Rouge and now gathers evidence against them, is trying—like many—to remain constructive. “Now both sides have to make it their first priority,” he says.

Each side has claimed they are still open to renegotiation. For now, Leuprecht (who is not involved in the negotiations) said at a March 8 news conference, “I do encourage both sides to walk through the open door.”

That is going to be tough. The United Nations pulled out of negotiations with Cambodia on February 8, saying its government could not guarantee a fair trial. Within days of the announcement, Ke Pauk, a former Khmer Rouge zone commander believed to be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, died. Left without any time frame for negotiations, Cambodian officials in late February entered new charges against Ta Mok, the one-legged former Khmer Rouge zone commander known as “The Butcher,” to prevent his pretrial detention term from expiring.

Distrust between the United Nations and Cambodia runs deep. After the Vietnamese helped topple the Khmer Rouge in 1979, the world body, under U.S. pressure, refused to recognize the Vietnamese-installed government and instead gave Cambodia’s seat to the Khmer Rouge.

U.N. workers who flocked to Cambodia in the early ’90s flooded the country with cash, soldiers, doctors, lawyers and teachers, but also helped nurture its brothels and sky-high AIDS rate. And some officials of the many U.N. agencies here in Phnom Penh have embarrassed the organization. One human rights chief had to be fired after she suggested Cambodians were biologically prone to violence.

Even physically, the challenge of getting the tribunal back on track is enormous. The U.N. legal team, which had long accused the Cambodians of stalling, did not even come to the country to begin its negotiations. That rankled many observers. “The fault lies with the U.N.,” one Western diplomat says. “The U.N. were invited to come, and they didn’t come.”

Whatever the outcome, a lesson has been driven home to many Cambodians. “The courts do not belong to the people,” Phann Ana says. “There is no justice.”

Cambodian-Vietnamese War

The Cambodian-Vietnamese War began the day after the Fall of Saigon on May 1st, 1975. A group of Khmer Rouge soldiers invaded Phu Quoc Island where many Vietnamese people resided. This angered the Vietnamese and ignited a fire between the two countries. Ten days later, the Khmer Rouge launched another attack on another Island, Tho Chu. They didn’t succeed, but they managed to escape pretty safely. In response to all these attacks, the Vietnamese Navy counterattacked with their own series of attacks. During these attacks, Vietnam was able to recapture these two islands from Cambodia. In the next couple of months, a peace treaty was signed between Cambodia and Vietnam. There were still violence occurring on the northeastern coast of Cambodia causing many of the Vietnamese residents to flee the country. A series of attacks and many invasions occurred after this time.

external image nick-ut-kim-phuc-vietnam-war.jpg

Threatened by the Khmer Rouge and the rest of the Cambodian army, Vietnam “supported internal resistance to the Pol Pot regime.” On December 3, 1978, Radio Hanoi, a Vietnamese propaganda radio station, announced the formation of the Kampuchean National United Front for National Salvation, KNUFNS for short. This was a group who also had a hate for the Pol Pot regime and was supported by the Vietnamese government.

On Christmas day in 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia. The Vietnamese had just come from a war with the US and the Vietnamese learned a lot from this war. They learned new military tactics that helped them capture one of their rivals, Cambodia. Pol Pot also attributed to this by making a huge mistake in commanding his soldiers to be stationed somewhere else during the invasion. The Vietnamese learned from many other wars they have been in, including the war with the US, allowed the Vietnamese to be more open to new things. Vietnam developed new guns to be able to compete with other countries while Cambodia was out of date with theirs. The mission for the capital was accomplished very easily.

Many Cambodian residents fled the country, but Pol Pot had still manage to survive. Even though the dictator, Pol Pot, did now die, the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled and the Cambodian genocide was over.


VII. Period After

– Michael


The Khmer Rouge’s links with China meant hostility between the Pol Pot government and Vietnam. In 1978 Vietnam invaded Kampuchea and overthrew the Khmer Rouge. The guerrillas were driven into the western jungles and beyond to Thailand. Vietnam set up a puppet government composed mainly of recent defectors from the Khmer Rouge. This new socialist government was comparatively benign, but found it hard to organize the necessary reconstruction program: Pol Pot’s policies had ruined the economy, there wasn’t much foreign aid; all the competent professionals, engineers, technicians and planners had been killed.

The Khmer Rouge in retreat had some help from American relief agencies – 20,000 to 40,000 guerrillas who reached Thailand received food aid -and the West also ensured that the Khmer Rouge held on to Cambodia’s seat in the United Nations: the Cold War continued to dictate what allegiances and priorities were made.

The Khmer Rouge went on fighting the Vietnam-backed government. Throughout the 1980s the Khmer Rouge forces were covertly backed by America and the UK because of their united hostility to communist Vietnam. The West’s fuelling of the Khmer Rouge held up Cambodia’s recovery for a decade.

Under international pressure, Vietnam finally withdrew its occupying army from Cambodia. This decision had also been forced by economic sanctions on Cambodia, and by a cut-off in aid from Vietnam’s own backer, the Soviet Union. The last troops left Cambodia in 1989, and its name was officially restored. In the 1978-1989 conflict between the two countries up to 65,000 had been killed, 14,000 of whom were civilians.

In Cambodia, under a temporary coalition government, it was once again legal to own land. The state religion, Buddhism, was revived. In 1991 a peace agreement between opposing groups was signed. Democratic elections, and a peacekeeping force to monitor them, were arranged for 1993, and the former monarch, Prince Sihanouk, was elected to lead the new government.

The Khmer Rouge guerrillas, of course, opposed Cambodia’s political reforms, but their organization had begun to crumble. Many defected to the new government; many entered into deals to get immunity from prosecution. When Pol Pot accused one of his close aides of treachery, leading Khmers arrested him, and in 1997 staged a show trial. The government, meanwhile, made plans for a tribunal to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice. Not surprisingly, those who have spoken publicly all lay the blame for genocide on Pol Pot, and claim no knowledge of the killing. They have also blamed people who are dead and can’t argue, or accused ‘enemy agents’ from the American CIA, the Russian KGB, and Vietnam, all said to have organized the atrocity for obvious political reasons.

From 1995 mass graves began to be uncovered, revealing the genocide’s horrifying extent. The resurrected bones and skulls have been preserved to create simple and potent memorials of the dead in ‘the killing fields’ where they died. At the torture centre in Phnom Penh, where the Khmer Rouge terrorized and murdered their own members, not only skulls but also identity photographs of the victims are displayed on the walls: this bleak, unhappy place has also become a memorial. 

In 1998 Pol Pot died of natural causes. His last home in the jungle, a complex of huts and bunkers, which is also the site of his cremation, has become an attraction for visitors. The government has plans to create a fully equipped tourist resort there, in the hope of reviving a trade, which had collapsed after the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 2001.


VIII. World response



There was not much international involvement during this genocide. Some say that the reason behind this is because the people experiencing the genocide had cultural differences from the people who could possibly stop it. There was also an unofficial belief that those suffering from the genocide had to have deserved it. Many nations felt that the people at this time were just fighting amongst one another and that it was not even considered genocide, as if it were an internal war. They felt no need to intervene. The international communities did not send troops to try and break through the regime. Outside powers thought they should just mind their own business.

The U.S. said that they didn’t know what was happening at the time of the genocide and they didn’t know the true facts of the situation. They also commented saying that they were incapable of helping prevent this genocide and that getting involved would not solve the problem, but maybe even make it worse.

According to American Self-Interest and the Response to Genocide by Roger Smith, “Simply put, American leaders did not act because they did not want to. They believed that genocide was wrong, but they were not prepared to invest the military, financial, diplomatic, or domestic political capital needed to stop it.”

The United States even took the part in the United Nations to teem the Khmer Rouge as the official government of Cambodia. The Cambodian genocide had little effect on the United States and seemed to be an event outside of their agenda. Since news of this event was not spread around, there was a lack of participation and action from the U.S. citizens to help the suffering victims in Cambodia.

It is a sad truth to tell about, but awareness of the Cambodian genocide was not raised until much later. By then, the leaders of the genocide were too old to withstand trial from the survival victims that wish to let justice prevail.



Only recently have international communities addressed the events that occurred in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge.

Since 1981, two years after the Khmer Rouge was driven out of Cambodia, the Cambodian Genocide Project, Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program, and the Documentation Center of Cambodia have gathered evidence from eyewitnesses, collected hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, and mapped thousands of mass graves.

In 1994, Senator Charles Robb made it U.S. policy, called the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act, to try the Khmer Rouge for their unlawful actions in Cambodia. In 1997, the Cambodian government requested help from the U.N. to set up a tribunal, which was recommended by the appointed Group of Experts in 1999. Hans Corell of the U.N. Office of Legal Affaris and Sok An from the Royal Government of Cambodia signed an agreement to question and put to trial the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

However, it has been a long time since these events have occurred and those involved are growing old. Time is of the essence with this tribunal because the human rights groups are worried that the officials will die before they can be put to trial. Pol pot, one of the main leaders of the Khmer Rouge, died in 1998. The delay in action from the international communities has taken a toll on the survivors of the Cambodian genocide.

Also, some international observers have asked the United Nations to mediate because they feel that they cannot try the Khmer Rouge credibly.

Agreement was reached in 2001 on a mixed tribunal with a Cambodian majority, but requiring super-majority agreement by international judges for all decisions. Administration will be shared by Cambodian and U.N. officials, prosecutors, and investigating judges. The maximum penalty will be life in prison. The Cambodian National Assembly passed a law to establish the tribunal on these terms.

Thankfully, since 1981, two years after the Khmer Rouge was driven out of Cambodia, the Cambodian Genocide Project, Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program, and the Documentation Center of Cambodia have gathered evidence from eyewitnesses, collected hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, and mapped thousands of mass graves. International protection of prisoner confessions and history of Democratic Kampuchea has kept the truth of this period from disappearing in the DC-Cam,keeping track of approximately 155,000 pages of documents on the Khmer Rouge and six thousand photographs that successfully display the horrible crimes committed during this genocide. The survivors will finally be able to have their voice heard after the agony of having no international interception while they were suffering. It brings justice to those who cannot fight for it themselves. DC-Cam is a non-profit institute that gathers and spreads information on the Khmer Rouge regime by what is given to them. It is run entirely by Cambodians and aided by scholars of Europe, Asia, and the United States. The position is holds and the mission of this organization has respect from the international nations and from Cambodia itself, which makes it a more legitimate and highly accurate program.


IX. Conclusion


The Cambodian genocide was one of the most terrifying and saddening events in the past century. According to many reliable sources, there was an estimate of over two million deaths during the terrible time. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and cousins all died during the genocide. Many of the deaths that occurred probably didn’t have a meaning to it also. Today, the Cambodian genocide still has lasting effects that affect people who experienced it negatively. There are many examples of survivors telling their stories about living in the genocide. Here is a video showing the effects of people who survived the genocide:

In 2009, the first of five “Khmer Rouge leaders will appear before a tribunal next week for committing war crimes against humanity in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.” Although Pol Pot died in 1998, many of the Khmer Rouge leaders are still alive today. These are the people who were responsible for the deaths of hundreds and thousands of people. People will never forget what the Khmer Rouge did to their families.

There are many memorials found throughout Cambodia remembering this tragic event. For example, one of the memorials, Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh, there are skulls and bones there to remember all the people that have passed. The Cambodian genocide has taught the whole world the horrible things that can happen if a genocide breaks out in a country, but what can we do to help our country prevent one of these tragic events?


C.Khmer Rouge Postal History

1.Khmer Rouge Postal History

Khmer Rouge era

Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975. The new regime allowed no civilian private communication and so abolished the postal system.

Service resumed in early 1979 when the Vietnamese army drove Khmer Rouge out of the capital Phnom Penh.

Although the Khmer Rouge no longer ruled all Cambodia, they still held the seat at the United Nations because of support from anti-Soviet countries. In the 1989 “National Flag” series of UN, the three-tower Angkor Wat red flag of “Democratic Kampuchea” represents Cambodia:

 Killingt Field Tuel Sleng Museum

(1) Main Entrence

 (2) Information


(3) Tuel Sleng Main Building



2.Cambodia On Foreign stamps

1)Cambodia on Foreign Stamps (Part 1)


Cambodia is best known to the world for two things, the ancient Angkorian civilization, and the Khmer Rouge era and its aftermaths. Since 1980 these themes has been featured on foreign stamps so often that they can give a one frame exhibition.

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia. The most notorious action of the Chinese-backed Communist group is they moved the whole urban population to rural area to be peasants – most educated civilians were brutally killed, all social institutions dissolved, and communications with the outside world eliminated. It led to more than one fifth of the population vanished under their rule. In 1999 the Marshall Islands remembered this man-made disaster with a stamp in the “20th Century” series:

The regime of terror was toppled by the Vietnamese in 1979. A pro-Vietnam Communist government was installed, then for the next ten years Cambodia was basically under the shadow of Vietnam. In 1983 Vietnam issued a set of two stamps to mark the Laos-Cambodia-Vietnam Summit Conference held in Vientiane. The conference was to form a militant alliance of the three countries with Vietnam taking the lead:

The year 1984 sees two more sets of Vietnamese stamps feature Cambodia. The first is to celebrate Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia solidarity and friendship, the second is to commemorate the 5th anniversary of friendship and cooperation treaty between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Vietnamese domination of Cambodia is once again reflected on stamps in 1989. A 2v set celebrating the 10th anniversary of National Day of Cambodia was issued, the day marks the Vietnamese took over Phnom Penh in 1979:

Although the Khmer Rouge no longer ruled all Cambodia, they still held the seat at the United Nations because of support from anti-Soviet countries. In the 1989 “National Flag” series of UN, the three-tower Angkor Wat red flag of “Democratic Kampuchea” represents Cambodia:

The Khmer Rouge and subsequent decade of war has made hundreds of thousands of Cambodians flee the country, some bitterly succeeded while some tragically lost their lives. Devoted journalists brought these refugees’ hell like situation to world news audience as one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of 1980s. In 2005 the Netherlands celebrated the 50th anniversary of World Press Photo with a stamp sheetlet, one of the stamps honours a 1979 press photo taken by photojournalist David Burnett showing a Cambodian refugee who cradles her child while waiting for food to be distributed:

Rays of dawn passed through the mist in 1993 when the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was mandated to implement the 1991 Paris Agreements on the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict. A general election was conducted which consequently formed a coalition government bringing Cambodia back to the road of peace, stability and development.

The operation involved 22,000 contributors of military and civilian police personnel from 45 countries. Below is a 1993 Uruguayan stamp which hails Uruguay joining the UNTAC peace mission:

Cambodia on Foreign Stamps (Part 2)


The end of Cold War in 1989 reset the world power balance, it also broke the strong economic and political tie with the former Soviet Bloc.

One of the few remaining communist states – Cuba celebrated
50th years of diplomatic relationship with Cambodia in 2010

Under the new world order Cambodia rapidly embraced the globalized economy by developing whole new international and regional economic partnerships. In 2004 Cambodia became a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) which offers firm and predictable treatment for products and services of Cambodia in the worldwide market.

Cambodia on United Nations 2006 Flags and Coins series

Regionally a significant move was made in 1999 by joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Cambodian flag depicted on 2006 Malaysia,
2004 Laos and 2010 Vietnam ASEAN stamps.

Currently ASEAN has ten members covering all southeast Asia except East Timor. When first founded in 1967, the bloc aimed at improving trade cooperation within the anti-Communist nations of the region. ASEAN now has the goal of facilitating economic growth, social progress, cultural development and environmental improvement. However the organization does not always work well as expected, recently it fails to resolve Cambodian-Thai border conflict.

The border conflict basically focuses on Prasat Preah Vihear, a Khmer temple which straddles the border in the Dangrek Mountains. The ancient Khmer Empire had a vast territory which included all or parts of modern-day Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia, it has left numerous temples ruins scattered across the area, particularly in Thailand and Laos.

Laos 1997 Commemoration of Lao Admission to ASEAN. Built in 11th century,
Wat Phou is a Khmer temple in present-day Champasak Province of Laos.
The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a
shrine where a linga was bathed in water from a mountain spring.
Laos 2003 World Heritage Site – Wat Phou 3v and S/S FDC.
The temple was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001.
Thailand 1995 Thai Heritage Conservation – Phimai Historical Park 4v set.
It is Khmer heritage rather than Thai, built in the reigns of King
Jayavarman VI and VII of Angkor (1080-1219), Prasat Phimai is
located in now Nakhon Ratchasima Province of Thailand.
It was a Tantric Buddhist temple rather than Hindu.
Thailand 1997 Thai Heritage Conservation – Phanomrung Historical Park
1st Series S/S. Prasat Phanomrung is a Khmer temple complex set on
the rim of an extinct volcano in now Buriram Province of Thailand. It was
built in sandstone and laterite in 10th to 13th centuries. The complex
was a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva and it symbolises Mount Kailash,
Shiva’s heavenly dwelling.
Thailand 1998 Thai Heritage Conservation – Phanomrung
Historical Park 2nd Series S/S

Amongst all Khmer temples the mega star is Angkor Wat. Built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was the state temple of the Khmer Empire, and it also served as the première temple of Angkor Thom, capital of the empire during its height.

France 2011 150th Death Anniversary of Henri Mouhot

Angkor Wat was popularized to Europeans by French explorer Henri Mouhot. In his 1868 travel journals “Voyage dans les Royaumes de Siam, de Cambodge, de Laos et Autres Parties Centrales de l’Indo-Chine”, Mouhot enchanced his description with illustrations and exclaimed that none of the ancient Greek and Roman buildings could be compared to Angkor.

France 1993 UNESCO World Heritage
Vietnam 1993 Southeast Asian ancient architecture
Japan 2003 ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year
Mozambique 2000 World Heritage Sities – Asia

World tourists flock in Angkor Wat and surrounding ruins bringing in thousands of millions of US dollars. Although the money is big, in a country like Cambodia which everything rebuilds at ground zero, the piece of cake shared by social services is small. Education and health care for children is inadequate and it heavily depends on foreign assistance. If education can reduce poverty, Cambodia has a long way to go.

Andorra 2004 Children of the World – Cambodian children FDC

D.The Biography of Pol Pot,Cambodian Leader and Polpot’s Man

1.Biography of Pol Pot

Pol Pot

Pol Pot in 1978.Pol Pot_Small.jpg (51452 bytes)Pol Potwas born in 1925 into a relatively prosperous farming family in Kampong Thom province in central Cambodia. As a young boy, he was sent to Phnom Penh to be raised by a cousin who was a member of the royal ballet. From his privileged background, Saloth Sar was able to enroll in the prestigious College Sihanouk in Kampong Cham. He was later given a scholarship by Sihanouk to study electronics in Paris. In Paris, Saloth Sar was drawn into Marxism and became a communist.

From 1954 to 1962, as an underground communist activist, Sar worked as a school teacher and was very popular among his students. In 1963, for fear of Sihanouk’s police, Sar, along with some of his closest comrades, left Phnom Penh for the jungle in eastern Cambodia. In 1970, he moved his base to Kampong Thom where he first began experimenting in radical revolution. His forces, known as the Khmer Rouge, fought a civil war against the US-backed Lon Nol government for the next five years. The Khmer Rouge force captured Phnom Penh in April 1975; then evacuated the city and began a radical revolutionary experiment. Under Pol Pot leadership, the Khmer Rouge are responsible for the death of over a million and a half Cambodians, and the near total destruction of Cambodia’s social, economic, and cultural foundations.polpot2_Small.jpg (6048 bytes)

After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, Pol Pot and the remnants of the Khmer Rouge forces escaped to the Thai border where, with support from ASEAN and China, they set up resistance against the Vietnamese troops and the Vietnamese backed government in Phnom Penh. Throughout the 1980s and the first half of 1990s, Pol Pot continued to exercise leadership over the Khmer Rouge guerrilla forces. He is believed to play a crucial role in influencing the movement to participate in the negotiation leading to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement and also to the subsequently boycott of the peace process and the elections supervised by UNTAC.

Failure of the Khmer Rouge make significant military advance against the post-1993 coalition government led to deep division within the Khmer Rouge ranks. This power struggle led to the demise of Pol Pot in 1997 when he was arrested, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment by a “people’s tribunal.” In April 1998, Pol Pot died in the remote jungle of Cambodia of an apparent heart attack and his body was “burned like old rubbish

In office
February 1963 – 1981 (party dissolved)
Preceded by Tou Samouth
Succeeded by None (party dissolved)

In office
May 13, 1976 – January 7, 1979
Preceded by Khieu Samphan
Succeeded by Pen Sovan
Personal details
Born May 19, 1925(1925-05-19)[1][2]
Kampong Thom Province, French Indochina
Died April 15, 1998(1998-04-15) (aged 72)
Anlong Veng, Kingdom of Cambodia
Political party Communist Party of Kampuchea
Spouse(s) 1) Khieu Ponnary (div.)
2) Mea Son

Saloth Sar (May 19, 1925 – April 15, 1998),[1][2] better known as Pol Pot, (Khmer: ប៉ុល ពត), was a Cambodian Chinese high school teacher and revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge[3] from 1963 until his death in 1998. From 1976-79, he served as the Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea.

Pol Pot became leader of Cambodia in mid-1975.[4] During his time in power he imposed a version of agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects, toward a goal of “restarting civilization” in “Year Zero“. The combined effects of forced labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21% of the Cambodian population.[5] In all, an estimated 1,700,000–2,500,000 people died under his leadership.

In 1979 after the invasion of Cambodia by neighboring Vietnam in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, he fled into the jungles of southwest Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge government collapsed.[6] From 1979–97 he and a remnant of the old Khmer Rouge operated from the border region of Cambodia and Thailand, where they clung to power, with nominal UN recognition as the rightful government of Cambodia.

He died in 1998 while under house arrest by the Ta Mok faction of the Khmer Rouge. Since his death, rumours that he was poisoned have persisted.[7]



Early life (1925–61)

Prek Sbauv, birthplace of Pol Pot.

Saloth Sar was born on May 19, 1925—the eighth of nine children,[8] and the second of three sons—of a moderately wealthy family of Chinese descent.[9][10] in the small fishing village of Prek Sbauv, Kampong Thom Province in a Cambodia dominated by French colonialism. In 1935 he left Prek Sbauv to attend the École Miche, a Catholic school in Phnom Penh. As his sister Roeung was a concubine of King Sisowath Monivong, he often visited the royal palace.[11]

In 1947, he gained admission to the exclusive Lycée Sisowath but was unsuccessful in his studies.


After switching to a technical school at Russey Keo, north of Phnom Penh, he qualified for a scholarship that allowed for technical study in France. He studied radio electronics at the EFR in Paris from 1949 to 1953. He also participated in an international labour brigade building roads in Zagreb in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1950. After the Soviet Union recognised the Viet Minh as the government of Vietnam in 1950, French Communists (PCF) took up the cause of Vietnam’s independence. The PCF’s anti-colonialism attracted many young Cambodians, including Saloth.

In 1951, he joined a communist cell in a secret organization known as the Cercle Marxiste (Marxist circle”) which had taken control of the Khmer Student’s Association (AER) that same year. Within a few months, Saloth also joined the PCF. Historian Philip Short has said that Saloth’s poor academic record was a considerable advantage within the anti-intellectual PCF, who saw uneducated peasants as the true proletar


As a result of failing his exams in three successive years, he was forced to return to Cambodia in January 1953. He was the first member of the Cercle Marxiste to return to Cambodia and was given the task of evaluating the various groups rebelling against the government. He recommended the Khmer Viet Minh, and in August 1954, Saloth, along with Rath Samoeun, travelled to the Viet Minh Eastern Zone headquarters in the village of Krabao in the Kampong Cham Province/Prey Veng Province in the border area of Cambodia.

Saloth and the others learned that the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP) was little more than a Vietnamese front organization. In 1954, the Cambodians at the Eastern Zone Headquarters split into two groups. Due to the Geneva peace accord of 1954 expelling all Viet Minh forces and insurgents, one group followed the Vietnamese back to Vietnam as cadres to be used by Vietnam in a future war to liberate Cambodia. The other group, including Saloth, returned to Cambodia.

After Cambodian independence following the 1954 Geneva Conference, right and left wing parties struggled against each other for power in the new government. Khmer King Norodom Sihanouk played the parties against each other while using the police and army to suppress extreme political groups. Corrupt elections in 1955 led many leftists in Cambodia to abandon hope of taking power by legal means. The communist movement, while ideologically committed to guerrilla warfare in these circumstances, did not launch a rebellion because of the weakness of the party.

After his return to Phnom Penh, Saloth became the liaison between the above-ground parties of the left (Democrats and Pracheachon) and the underground communist movement. He married Khieu Ponnary on July 14, 1956. She returned to Lycée Sisowath but now as a teacher, while he taught French literature and history at Chamraon Vichea, a new private college.[12]

The path to rebellion (1962–68)

In January 1962, the government of Cambodia rounded up most of the leadership of the far-left Pracheachon party ahead of parliamentary elections due in June. The newspapers and other publications of the party were also closed. This event effectively ended any above-ground political role for the communist movement in Cambodia. In July 1962, the Underground communist party secretary Tou Samouth was arrested and later killed while in custody. The arrests created a situation where Saloth could become the de facto deputy leader of the party. When Tou Samouth was murdered, Saloth became the acting leader of the communist party. At a party meeting attended by at most eighteen people in 1963, he was elected Secretary of the central committee of the party. In March 1963, Saloth went into hiding after his name was published in a list of leftist suspects put together by the police for Norodom Sihanouk. He fled to the Vietnamese border region and made contact with Vietnamese units fighting against South Vietnam.

In early 1964, Saloth convinced the Vietnamese to help the Cambodian Communists set up their own base camp. The central committee of the party met later that year and issued a declaration calling for armed struggle. The declaration also emphasized the idea of “self-reliance” in the sense of extreme Cambodian nationalism. In the border camps, the ideology of the Khmer Rouge was gradually developed. The party, breaking with Marxism, declared rural peasant farmers to be the true working class proletarian and the lifeblood of the revolution. This is in some sense explained by the fact that none of the central committee were in any sense “working class”. All of them had grown up in a feudal peasant society.

After another wave of repression by Sihanouk in 1965, the Khmer Rouge movement under Saloth grew at a rapid rate. Many teachers and students were forced to leave the cities to the countryside to join the movement.

In April 1965, Saloth went to North Vietnam to gain approval for an uprising in Cambodia against the government. North Vietnam refused to support any uprising because of agreements being negotiated with the Cambodian government. Sihanouk promised to allow the Vietnamese to use Cambodian territory and Cambodian ports in their war against South Vietnam.

After returning to Cambodia in 1966, Saloth organized a party meeting where a number of important decisions were made. The party was officially but secretly renamed the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). Lower ranks of the party were not informed of the decision. It was also decided to establish command zones and prepare each region for an uprising against the government.

In early 1966 fighting broke out in the countryside between peasants and the government over the price paid for rice. Saloth’s Khmer Rouge was caught by surprise by the uprisings and was unable to take any real advantage of them. But the government’s refusal to find a peaceful solution to the problem created rural unrest that played into the hands of the Communist movement.

It was not until early 1967 that Saloth decided to launch a national uprising, even after North Vietnam refused to assist it in any real way. The uprising was launched on January 18, 1968 with a raid on an army base south of Battambang. The Battambang area had already seen two years of great peasant unrest. The attack was driven off by the army, but the Khmer Rouge had captured a number of weapons, which were then used to drive police forces out of Cambodian villages.

By the summer of 1968, Saloth began the transition from a party leader working with a collective leadership into the absolutist leader of the Khmer Rouge movement. Where before he had shared communal quarters with other leaders, he now had his own compound with a personal staff and a troop of guards. Outsiders were no longer allowed to approach him. Rather, people were summoned into his presence by his staff.

The path to power (1969–75)

The movement was estimated to consist of no more than 1500 regulars, but the core of the movement was supported by a number of villagers many times that size. While weapons were in short supply, the insurgency was still able to operate in twelve of nineteen districts of Cambodia. In the middle of 1969 Saloth called a party conference and decided on a change in propaganda strategy. Up to 1969, the Khmer Rouge had been very anti-Sihanouk. Opposition to Sihanouk was at the center of their propaganda. But it was decided at the conference to shift the party’s propaganda to be against the right-wing parties of Cambodia and their supposed pro-American attitudes. The party ceased to be anti-Sihanouk in public statements, but in private the party had not changed its view of him.

The road to power for Saloth and the Khmer Rouge was opened by the events of January 1970 in Cambodia. Sihanouk, while out of the country, ordered the government to stage anti-Vietnamese protests in the capital. The protesters quickly went out of control and wrecked the embassies of both North and South Vietnam. Sihanouk, who had ordered the protests, then denounced them from Paris and blamed unnamed individuals in Cambodia for them. These actions, along with intrigues by Sihanouk’s followers in Cambodia, convinced the government that he should be removed as head of state. The National Assembly voted to remove Sihanouk from office. Afterward, the government closed Cambodia’s ports to Vietnamese weapons traffic and demanded that the Vietnamese leave Cambodia.

The North Vietnamese reacted to the political changes in Cambodia by sending Premier Phạm Văn Đồng to meet Sihanouk in China and recruit him into an alliance with the Khmer Rouge. Saloth was also contacted by the Vietnamese who now offered him whatever resources he wanted for his insurgency against the Cambodian government. Saloth and Sihanouk were actually in Beijing at the same time but the Vietnamese and Chinese leaders never informed Sihanouk of the presence of Saloth or allowed the two men to meet. Shortly after, Sihanouk issued an appeal by radio to the people of Cambodia to rise up against the government and support the Khmer Rouge. In May 1970, Saloth finally returned to Cambodia and the pace of the insurgency greatly increased.

Earlier, on March 29, 1970, the Vietnamese had taken matters into their own hands and launched an offensive against the Cambodian army. A force of 40,000 Vietnamese quickly overran large parts of eastern Cambodia reaching to within 15 miles (24 km) of Phnom Penh before being pushed back. In these battles the Khmer Rouge and Saloth played a very small role.

In October 1970, Saloth issued a resolution in the name of the Central Committee. The resolution stated the principle of independence mastery which was a call for Cambodia to decide its own future independent of the influence of any other country. The resolution also included statements describing the betrayal of the Cambodian Communist movement in the 1950s by the Viet Minh. This was the first statement of the anti-Vietnamese/self sufficiency at all costs ideology that would be a part of the Pol Pot regime when it took power years later.

Through 1971, the Vietnamese (North Vietnamese and Viet Cong) did most of the fighting against the Cambodian government while Saloth and the Khmer Rouge functioned almost as auxiliaries to their forces. Saloth took advantage of the situation to gather in new recruits and to train them to a higher standard than previously was possible. Saloth also put resources of Khmer Rouge organizations into political education and indoctrination. While accepting anyone regardless of background into the Khmer Rouge army at this time, Saloth greatly increased the requirements for membership in the party. Students and so-called middle peasants were now rejected by the party. Those with clear peasant backgrounds were the preferred recruits for party membership. These restrictions were ironic in that most of the senior party leadership including Saloth came from student and middle peasant backgrounds. They also created an intellectual split between the educated old guard party members and the uneducated peasant new party members.

In early 1972, Saloth toured the insurgent/Vietnamese controlled areas in Cambodia. He saw a regular Khmer Rouge army of 35,000 men taking shape supported by around 100,000 irregulars. China was supplying five million dollars a year in weapons and Saloth had organized an independent revenue source for the party in the form of rubber plantations in eastern Cambodia using forced labour.

The Khmer Rouge also used the massive US bombings of Villages in Eastern Cambodia, where over 2.8 million tons of bombs were dropped during Operation Menu, to aid in their recruitment of members.

After a central committee meeting in May 1972, the party under the direction of Saloth began to enforce new levels of discipline and conformity in areas under their control. Minorities such as the Chams were forced to conform to Cambodian styles of dress and appearance. These policies, such as forbidding the Chams from wearing jewelry, were soon extended to the whole population. A haphazard version of land reform was undertaken by Saloth. Its basis was that all land holdings should be of uniform size. The party also confiscated all private means of transportation at this time. The 1972 policies were aimed at reducing the peoples of the liberated areas to a sort of feudal peasant equality. These policies were generally favourable at the time to poor peasants and extremely unfavourable to refugees from towns who had fled to the countryside.

In 1972, the Vietnamese army forces began to withdraw from the fighting against the Cambodian government. Saloth issued a new set of decrees in May 1973 which started the process of reorganizing peasant villages into cooperatives where property was jointly owned and individual possessions banned.

 Control of the countryside

The Khmer Rouge advanced during 1973. After they reached the edges of Phnom Penh, Saloth issued orders during the peak of the rainy season that the city be taken. The orders led to futile attacks and wasted lives among the Khmer Rouge army. By the middle of 1973, the Khmer Rouge under Saloth controlled almost two-thirds of the country and half the population. Vietnam realised that it no longer controlled the situation and began to treat Saloth as more of an equal leader than a junior partner.

In late 1973, Saloth made strategic decisions about the future of the war. His first decision was to cut the capital off from contact from outside supply and effectively put the city under siege. The second decision was to enforce tight command on people trying to leave the city through the Khmer Rouge lines. He also ordered a series of general purges. Former government officials, along with anyone with an education, were singled out in the purges. A set of new prisons was also constructed in Khmer Rouge run areas. The Cham minority attempted an uprising around this time against attempts to destroy their culture. While the uprising was quickly crushed, Saloth ordered that harsh physical torture be used against most of those involved in the revolt. As previously, Saloth tested out harsh new policies against the Cham minority before extending them to the general population of the country.

The Khmer Rouge also had a policy of evacuating urban areas to the countryside. When the Khmer Rouge took the town of Kratie in 1971, Saloth and other members of the party were shocked at how fast the liberated urban areas shook off socialism and went back to the old ways. Various ideas were tried to re-create the town in the image of the party, but nothing worked. In 1973, out of total frustration, Saloth decided that the only solution was to send the entire population of the town to the fields in the countryside. He wrote at the time “if the result of so many sacrifices was that the capitalists remain in control, what was the point of the revolution?”. Shortly after, Saloth ordered the evacuation of the 15,000 people of Kompong Cham for the same reasons. The Khmer Rouge then moved on in 1974 to evacuate the larger city of Oudong.

Internationally, Saloth and the Khmer Rouge were able to gain the recognition of 63 countries as the true government of Cambodia. A move was made at the UN to give the seat for Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge[which?] prevailed by three votes.

In September 1974, Saloth gathered the central committee of the party together. As the military campaign was moving toward a conclusion, Saloth decided to move the party toward implementing a socialist transformation of the country in the form of a series of decisions. The first one was that after their victory, the main cities of the country would be evacuated with the population moved to the countryside. The second was that money would cease to be put into circulation and quickly be phased out. The final decision was the party’s acceptance of Saloth’s first major purge. In 1974, Saloth had purged a top party official named Prasith. Prasith was taken out into a forest and shot without any chance to defend himself. His death was followed by a purge of cadres who, like Prasith, were ethnically Thai. Saloth offered as explanation that the class struggle had become acute and that a strong stand had to be made against the enemies of the party.

The Khmer Rouge were positioned for a final offensive against the government in January 1975. At the same time at a press event in Beijing, Sihanouk proudly announced Saloth’s “death list” of enemies to be killed after victory. The list, which originally contained seven names, expanded to twenty-three, including all the senior government leaders along with the military and police leadership. The rivalry between Vietnam and Cambodia also came out into the open. North Vietnam, as the rival socialist country in Indochina, was determined to take Saigon before the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh. Shipments of weapons from China were delayed and in one instance the Cambodians were forced to sign a humiliating document thanking Vietnam for shipments of what were in fact Chinese weapons.

In September 1975, the government formed a Supreme National Council with new leadership, with the aim of negotiating a surrender to the Khmer Rouge. It was headed by Sak Sutsakhan who had studied in France with Saloth and was cousin to the Khmer Rouge Deputy Secretary Nuon Chea. Saloth’s reaction to this was to add the names of everyone involved to his post-victory death list. Government resistance finally collapsed on September 17, 1975.

Leader of Kampuchea (1975–79)

Skulls of Khmer Rouge victims

Mass grave in Choeung Ek

The Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975. As the leader of the Communist Party, Saloth Sar was the designated leader of the new regime. He took the name “brother number one” and declared his nom de guerre Pol Pot. This has generally supposed to have been derived from Politique potentielle, the French equivalent of a phrase supposedly coined for him by the Chinese leadership. An alternative version of the origin of Pol Pot’s name is from Philip Short, who states that Saloth Sar announced that he was adopting the name in July 1970 and suspects that it is derived from pol: “the Pols were royal slaves, an aboriginal people”, and that “Pot” was simply a “euphonic monosyllable” that he liked.[13]

A new constitution was adopted on January 5, 1976, officially altering the country’s name to “Democratic Kampuchea”. The newly established Representative Assembly held its first plenary meeting on April 11 – 13, electing a new government with Pol Pot as prime minister. His predecessor, Khieu Samphan was instead given the position of head of state as President of the State Presidium. Prince Sihanouk was given no role in the government and was placed under detention.

Immediately after the fall of Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge began to implement their concept of Year Zero and ordered the complete evacuation of Phnom Penh and all other recently captured major towns and cities. Those leaving were told that the evacuation was due to the threat of severe American bombing and it would last for no more than a few days.

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge had been evacuating captured urban areas for many years, but the evacuation of Phnom Penh was unique in scale. The first operations to evacuate urban areas occurred in 1968 in the Ratanakiri area and were aimed at moving people deeper into Khmer Rouge territory to better control them. From 1971–1973, the motivation changed. Pol Pot and the other senior leaders were frustrated that urban Cambodians were retaining old habits of trade and business. When all other methods had failed, evacuation to the countryside was adopted to solve the problem.

In 1976, people were reclassified as full-rights (base) people, candidates and depositees – so called because they included most of the new people who had been deposited from the cities into the communes. Depositees were marked for destruction. Their rations were reduced to two bowls of rice soup, or “p’baw” per day. This led to widespread starvation. “New people” were allegedly given no place in the elections taking place on March 20, 1976, despite the fact the constitution was said to have established universal suffrage for all Cambodians over age 18.

The Khmer Rouge leadership boasted over the state-controlled radio that only one or two million people were needed to build the new agrarian communist utopia. As for the others, as their proverb put it, “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss.”[14]

Hundreds of thousands of the new people, and later the depositees, were taken out in shackles to dig their own mass graves. Then the Khmer Rouge soldiers beat them to death with iron bars and hoes or buried them alive. A Khmer Rouge extermination prison directive ordered, “Bullets are not to be wasted.” These mass graves are often referred to as The Killing Fields.

The Khmer Rouge also classified by religion and ethnic group. They banned all religion and dispersed minority groups, forbidding them to speak their languages or to practice their customs. They especially targeted Buddhist monks, Muslims, Christians, Western-educated intellectuals, educated people in general, people who had contact with Western countries or with Vietnam, disabled people, and the ethnic Chinese, Laotians and Vietnamese. Some were put in the S-21 camp for interrogation involving torture in cases where a confession was useful to the government. Many others were summarily executed. Confessions forced at S-21 were extracted from prisoners through such methods as raising prisoners by their arms tied behind and dislocating shoulders, removing toenails with pliers, suffocating a prisoner repeatedly, and skinning a person while alive.[15]

According to François Ponchaud’s book Cambodia: Year Zero, “Ever since 1972 the guerrilla fighters had been sending all the inhabitants of the villages and towns they occupied into the forest to live and often burning their homes, so that they would have nothing to come back to.” The Khmer Rouge refused offers of humanitarian aid, a decision which proved to be a humanitarian catastrophe: millions died of starvation and brutal government-inflicted overwork in the countryside. To the Khmer Rouge, outside aid went against their principle of national self-reliance.

Property became collective, and education was dispensed at communal schools. Children were raised on a communal basis. Even meals were prepared and eaten communally. Pol Pot’s regime was extremely paranoid. Political dissent and opposition were not permitted. People were treated as opponents based on their appearance or background. Torture was widespread. In some instances, throats were slit as prisoners were tied to metal bed frames.

Thousands of politicians and bureaucrats accused of association with previous governments were executed. Phnom Penh was turned into a ghost city, while people in the countryside were dying of starvation or illnesses or simply killed.

US officials had predicted that more than one million people would be killed by the Khmer Rouge if they took power,[16] and President Gerald Ford had warned of “an unbelievable horror story.”[17] Different estimates as to the number killed by the Khmer Rouge regime vary from 750,000 to over three million. Analysis of 20,000 mass grave sites by the DC-Cam Mapping Program and Yale University indicate at least 1,386,734 victims.[18] Estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a population of around 8 million.[19] Credible Western and Eastern sources[20] put the death toll inflicted by the Khmer Rouge at 1.7 million. A specific source, such as a figure of 3 million deaths between 1975 and 1979, was given by the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. François Ponchaud suggested 2.3 million, R.J. Rummel 2.4 million (counting democide in the civil wars), the Yale Cambodian Genocide Project 1.7 million, and Amnesty International 1.4 million. Demographer Marek Sliwinski concluded that at least 1.8 million were killed from 1975–9 on the basis of the total population decline, compared to roughly 40,000 killed by the US bombing.[21] Researcher Craig Etcheson of the Documentation Center of Cambodia suggests that the death toll was between 2 and 2.5 million, with a “most likely” figure of 2.2 million. After 5 years of researching some 20,000 grave sites, he concludes that, “these mass graves contain the remains of 1,386,734 victims of execution.”[22] Execution is believed to have accounted for about 30–50% of the death toll. This would indicate 2.5 to 3 million deaths, but normal mortality over this period would have accounted for about 500,000 deaths—subtracting this from the total sum, we arrive at Etcheson’s range for the number of “excess” deaths attributable to the Khmer Rouge regime.[23] A UN investigation reported 2–3 million dead, while UNICEF estimated 3 million had been killed.[24] Even the Khmer Rouge acknowledged that 2 million had been killed—though they attributed those deaths to a subsequent Vietnamese invasion.[25] By late 1979, UN and Red Cross officials were warning that another 2.25 million Cambodians faced death by starvation due to “the near destruction of Cambodian society under the regime of ousted Prime Minister Pol Pot,”[26] who were saved by American and international aid after the Vietnamese invasion. It is estimated that at least half a million more were starved to death or slaughtered after the invasion from Vietnam.[27][28]

Pol Pot aligned the country politically with the People’s Republic of China and adopted an anti-Soviet line. This alignment was more political and practical than ideological. Vietnam was aligned with the Soviet Union so Cambodia aligned with the rival of the Soviet Union and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. China had been supplying the Khmer Rouge with weapons for years before they took power.

In December 1976, Pol Pot issued directives to the senior leadership to the effect that Vietnam was now an enemy. Defenses along the border were strengthened and unreliable deportees were moved deeper into Cambodia. Pol Pot’s actions were in response to the Vietnamese Communist Party’s fourth Congress which approved a resolution describing Vietnam’s special relationship with Laos and Cambodia. It also talked of how Vietnam would forever be associated with the building and defense of the other two countries.

Conflict with Vietnam


In May 1975 a squad of Khmer Rouge soldiers raided and took Phu Quoc Island. By 1977, relations with Vietnam began to fall apart. There were small border clashes in January. Pol Pot tried to prevent border disputes by sending a team to Vietnam. The negotiations failed which resulted in even more border disputes. On April 30, the Cambodian army, backed by artillery, crossed over into Vietnam. In attempting to explain Pol Pot’s behaviour, one region-watcher[specify] suggested that Cambodia was attempting to intimidate Vietnam, by irrational acts, into respecting or at least fearing Cambodia to the point they would leave the country alone. However, these actions only served to anger the Vietnamese people and government against the Khmer Rouge.

In May 1976, Vietnam sent its air force into Cambodia in a series of raids. In July, Vietnam forced a Treaty of Friendship on Laos which gave Vietnam almost total control over the country. In Cambodia, Khmer Rouge commanders in the Eastern Zone began to tell their men that war with Vietnam was inevitable and that once the war started their goal would be to recover parts of Vietnam, (Khmer Krom) which used to be part of Cambodia, in which its people were struggling to fight for independence from Vietnam. It is not clear whether these statements were the official policy of Pol Pot.

In September 1977, Cambodia launched division-scale raids over the border which once again left a trail of murder and destruction in villages. The Vietnamese claimed that around 1,000 people had been killed or injured. Three days after the raid, Pol Pot officially announced the existence of the formerly secret Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) and finally announced to the world that the country was a Communist state. In December, after having exhausted all other options, Vietnam sent 50,000 troops into Cambodia in what amounted to a short raid. The raid was meant to be secret. The Vietnamese withdrew after declaring they had achieved their goals, and the invasion was just a warning. Upon being threatened, the Vietnamese army promised to return with support from the Soviet Union. Pol Pot’s actions made the operation much more visible than the Vietnamese had intended and created a situation in which Vietnam appeared weak.

After making one final attempt to negotiate a settlement with Cambodia, Vietnam decided that it had to prepare for a full war. Vietnam also tried to pressure Cambodia through China. However, China’s refusal to pressure Cambodia and the flow of weapons from China into Cambodia were both signs that China also intended to act against Vietnam.

When Cambodian communists rebelled in the eastern zone in May 1978 Pol Pot’s armies were unable to crush them quickly. On May 10 his radio broadcast a call not only to ‘exterminate the 50 million Vietnamese’ but also to ‘purify the masses of the people’ of Cambodia. Of 1.5 million easterners, branded as ‘Khmer bodies with Vietnamese minds’, at least 100,000 were exterminated in six months. Later that year, in response to threats to its borders and the Vietnamese people, Vietnam attacked Cambodia to overthrow the Khmer Rouge, which Vietnam could justify on the basis of self-defense.[29] The Cambodian army was defeated, the regime was toppled and Pol Pot fled to the Thai border area. In January 1979, Vietnam installed a new government under Heng Samrin, composed of Khmer Rouge who had fled to Vietnam to avoid the purges. Pol Pot eventually regrouped with his core supporters in the Thai border area where he received shelter and assistance. At different times during this period, he was located on both sides of the border. The military government of Thailand used the Khmer Rouge as a buffer force to keep the Vietnamese away from the border. The Thai military also made money from the shipment of weapons from China to the Khmer Rouge. Eventually Pol Pot was able to rebuild a small military force in the west of the country with the help of the People’s Republic of China. The PRC also initiated the Sino-Vietnamese War around this time.

After the Khmer Rouge were driven from power by the Vietnamese in 1979, the United States and other powers[specify] refused to allow the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government to take the seat of Cambodia at the United Nations. The seat, by default, remained in the hands of the Khmer Rouge. These countries considered that however negative allowing the Khmer Rouge to hold on to the seat was, recognising Vietnam’s occupation of Cambodia was worse. Also, representatives of these countries argued[citation needed] that both claimants to the seat were Khmer Rouge governments, because Vietnam’s Cambodian government was formed from ex-Khmer Rouge cadres.

Nicolae Ceauşescu with Pol Pot (1978)

Aftermath (1979–98)

The U.S. opposed the Vietnamese military occupation of Cambodia, and in the mid-1980s supported insurgents opposed to the regime of Heng Samrin, approving $5 million in aid to the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front of former prime minister Son Sann and the pro-Sihanouk ANS in 1985. Regardless of this, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge remained the best-trained and most capable of the three insurgent groups who, despite sharply divergent ideologies, had formed the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) alliance three years earlier. China continued to funnel extensive military aid to the Khmer Rouge, and critics of U.S. foreign policy claimed that the U.S. was indirectly sponsoring the Khmer Rouge due to U.S. assistance given the CGDK in keeping control of the United Nations “seat” of Cambodia.[30][31][32] The U.S. refused to recognise the Cambodian government installed by the army of Vietnam or to recognise any Cambodian government operating while Cambodia was under the military occupation of Vietnam.

During this period, the Khmer Rouge was able to rebuild its military, now titled the “National Army of Democratic Kampuchea” (NADK), as well as its infamous ruling party, the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), the sinister and shadowy “angkar”, in the mountain area of Phnom Malai. By mid-1980s, with the cooperation of the West and China, the Khmer Rouge had grown to about 35 to 50 thousand troops and committed cadres.[33]

Archives uncovered in Cambodia in 2009 have shed light on the deaths of several Western yachtsman, including 2 Australians and a New Zealander who were forced to confess under duress to being CIA operatives. The Australian yachtsman strayed into disputed waters, where they were captured by the Khmer Rouge and sent to Pol Pot’s S-21 death camp. Later Australian foreign minister Andrew Peacock resigned in 1981 over his unease over the Fraser government’s recognition of Pol Pot’s regime under pressure from China.[34]

Pol Pot lived in the Phnom Malai area, giving interviews in the early 1980s accusing all those who opposed him of being traitors and “puppets” of the Vietnamese until he disappeared from public view. In 1985, his “retirement” was announced, but he kept hiding somewhere close by, still pulling the Khmer Rouge strings of power.[35]

Phnom Malai was the location where in 1981 Pol Pot made his famous declarations denying guilt for the brutalities of the organization he led:

[Pol Pot] said that he knows that many people in the country hate him and think he’s responsible for the killings. He said that he knows many people died. When he said this he nearly broke down and cried. He said he must accept responsibility because the line was too far to the left, and because he didn’t keep proper track of what was going on. He said he was like the master in a house he didn’t know what the kids were up to, and that he trusted people too much. For example, he allowed [one person] to take care of central committee business for him, [another person] to take care of intellectuals, and [a third person] to take care of political education…. These were the people to whom he felt very close, and he trusted them completely. Then in the end … they made a mess of everything…. They would tell him things that were not true, that everything was fine, that this person or that was a traitor. In the end they were the real traitors. The major problem had been cadres formed by the Vietnamese.[36]

In December 1985, the Vietnamese launched a major offensive and overran most of the Khmer Rouge and other insurgent positions. The Khmer Rouge headquarters at Phnom Malai and its base near Pailin were completely destroyed; the Vietnamese attackers suffered substantial losses during the attack.[37]

Pol Pot fled to Thailand where he lived for the next six years. His headquarters were a plantation villa near Trat. He was guarded by Thai Special Unit 838.

Pol Pot officially resigned from the party in 1985 citing asthma as a contributing factor, but continued as the de facto Khmer Rouge leader and a dominant force within the anti-Vietnam alliance. He handed day to day power to Son Sen, his hand-picked successor. Opponents of the Khmer Rouge claimed that they were sometimes acting in an inhumane manner in territory controlled by the alliance but none of the forces fighting in Cambodia could be said to have clean hands.

In 1986, his new wife Mea Son gave birth to a daughter, Sitha, named after an experimental form of North Vietnamese cookery. Shortly after, Pol Pot moved to China for medical treatment for cancer of the face. He remained there until 1988.

In 1989, Vietnam withdrew from Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge established a new stronghold area in the west near the Thai border and Pol Pot relocated back into Cambodia from Thailand. Pol Pot refused to cooperate with the peace process, and kept fighting the new coalition government. The Khmer Rouge kept the government forces at bay until 1996, when troops started deserting. Several important Khmer Rouge leaders also defected. The government had a policy of making peace with Khmer Rouge individuals and groups after negotiations with the organization as a whole failed. In 1995 Pol Pot experienced a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body.

Pol Pot ordered the execution of his life-long right-hand man Son Sen on June 10, 1997 for attempting to make a settlement with the government. Eleven members of his family were killed also, although Pol Pot later denied that he had ordered this. He then fled his northern stronghold, but was later arrested by Khmer Rouge military Chief Ta Mok. In July he was subjected to a show trial for the death of Son Sen and sentenced to lifelong house arrest.[38]


On the night of April 15, 1998, the Voice of America, of which Pol Pot was a devoted listener, announced that the Khmer Rouge had agreed to turn him over to an international tribunal. According to his wife, he died in his bed later in the night while waiting to be moved to another location. Ta Mok claimed that his death was due to heart failure.[39] Despite government requests to inspect the body, it was cremated a few days later at Anlong Veng in the Khmer Rouge zone, raising strong suspicions that he committed suicide or was poisoned.[40][41]

 Analysis and perspectives

Demographic evidence indicates that the US bombings of Cambodia, especially the Menu bombings, ultimately killed about 40,000 Cambodian combatants and civilians.[42] Some estimates go as high as 100,000 killed by the bombing.[43] The US Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city.

On March 30, 2009, Kaing Guek Eav (also known by his nom de guerre Duch), Khmer Rouge commandant of Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng prison and torture house, testified at the UN-backed Tribunal, that US policies in the 1970s contributed to the brutal regime’s rise to power.[44] “I think the Khmer Rouge would already have been demolished,” he said of their status by 1970.[44]

“But Mr. Kissinger (then Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs and National Security Advisor) and Richard Nixon were quick [to back coup leader General Lon Nol], and then the Khmer Rouge noted the golden opportunity.” “Because of this alliance, the Khmer Rouge were able to build up their power over the course of their 1970–75 war against the Lon Nol regime,” Duch said.[44]

This view has been disputed,[45][46][47] with author John M. Del Vecchio asserting that the Communist forces had the American equivalent of four million armed and organized troops overrun two-thirds of the country prior to any American bombing, and with documents uncovered from the Soviet archives revealing that the North Vietnamese invasion of 1970 was launched at the explicit request of the Khmer Rouge following negotiations with Nuon Chea.[48]

International support

Support from China

The Chinese government is regarded to have been the main international support for the Khmer Rouge and its leader Pol Pot. The Chinese provided financial and military support to the party[49]. China’s motivation is believed to have been due to their intense rivalry with Vietnam at the time, which coincided with Pol Pot’s plans to regain the ancient lands of the kingdom, which were, and are currently, belonging to neighboring countries such as Vietnam.

 Support from UN

During the Khmer Rouge regime, and a period of time directly after, the Khmer Rouge was recognised by UN as a legitimate government, and therefore held a seat at the UN.[50] While many leaders at the UN attempted to appeal this, the majority allowed the Khmer Rouge (later titled “Democratic Republic of Kampuchea”) to keep their seat for 15 years following the genocide

2.The Biography of Cambodian leader


Hun Sen was born in 1952 into a peasant family in Kampong Cham province. As a teenager, Hun Sen joined the communist resistance, as he repeatedly mentions, in response to King Sihanouk’s appeal. After the Khmer Rouge victory in 1975, he became a regimental leader in the Eastern Zone. As the violent purge against eastern zone cadres intensified, Hun Sen, along with other zone leaders, fled to Vietnam.In January 1979, Hun Sen returned to Cambodia alongside the invading Vietnamese soldiers and rose rapidly within the ranks of the leadership in the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. He was appointed foreign minister in 1979 and prime minister in 1985. His role in the Cambodian People’s Party became even more prominent during the negotiation process leading to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements, when he served as the chief negotiator for the People’s Republic of Kampuchea and the State of Cambodia.

Although his party, the Cambodian People’s Party, lost the 1993 U.N elections, he was able to put pressure on the victorious party, the FUNCINPEC party, to share power, an arrangement in which his party had an upper hand. Although he served as the Second Prime Minister he was the de facto leader of Cambodia. From 1995, Hun Sen’s relations with Prince Norodom Ranariddh were extremely cool, leading eventually to fierce fighting in July 1997 during which Prince Ranariddh was overthrown in a coup d’etat. Since the 1998 elections, Hun Sen became the Prime Minister of Cambodia.

2.Ieng Mouly

Ieng Mouly.jpg (7866 bytes)Ieng Mouly was vice president of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party. Upon the establishment of the coalition government in 1993, Ieng Mouly became the Minister of Information. Political splits within BLDP led Mouly to challenge Son Sann’s leadership by holding his own congress and attempting to get himself elected as the president of BLDP. But his attempt did not succeed. He then formed his owned political party called Buddhist Liberal Party and led this party to contest the 1998 general elections — without any success.

 Sihanouk_Small.jpg (22136 bytes)3.Norodom Sihanouk was crowned king at the age of 18 by the French colonial authorities who thought that the young Sihanouk would make a tractable monarch. This judgment was proven wrong when Sihanouk later challenged the French to grant Cambodia independence in 1953. Since then, Sihanouk has played a central role in Cambodian politics, achieving both fame and blame for the fate of Cambodians as the country achieved peace and tranquility in the 1950s and 1960s and plunged into great tragedy in the 1970s.

In 1955, in order to release himself from royal ceremonial duties and in order to enter politics as a private citizen, King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the throne. He then set up a political movement called Sangkum Reastr Niyum (People’s Socialist Community) that coopted all sectors of society. Through Sangkum, Sihanouk ruled Cambodia singlehandedly. He proclaimed himself to be the father of Cambodia in all fields and he referred to Cambodians as his children. With global geopolitical shift, Prince Sihanouk lost his political balance and was finally disposed by his own Prime Minister General Lon Nol in March 1970.

After he was overthrown, Sihanouk formed a government in exile called the Royal Government of National Union that included the Khmer Rouge. In actuality, the Khmer Rouge was in full control of the coalition and used Sihanouk to advance its course. When the Khmer Rouge seized power on April 17, 1975 in the name of the Royal Government of National Union, Sihanouk served as the head of state. He resigned the post in 1976 and was placed under house arrest at the Royal Palace by the Khmer Rouge. When the Vietnamese invade Cambodia in 1979, Sihanouk once again lived in exile. In 1980, he founded a political party, known by its French acronym, FUNCINPEC (National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, and Peaceful Cambodia), to fight against the Vietnamese occupying forces and the Vietnamese backed regime. His political force joined Son San’s Khmer People’s National Liberation Front and the Khmer Rouge to form the Coalition government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) with himself as the president.

In 1987, Sihanouk began to negotiate with Hun Sen for a solution to the Cambodian conflict, that lead to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement and paved the way for the 1993 United Nations sponsored elections. On September 1993, Prince Norodom Sihanouk was once again crowned King — but this time one who reigns but does not rule. Since the 1993, Sihanouk has been sincere in attempting to lift Cambodia out of its past tragedy. However, Sihanouk’s role in Cambodian politics has been limited by his poor health and old age and continuing political conflicts. Despite these problems, Sihanouk has played a leading role in defusing political tensions in the Kingdom and mediating conflict between his son Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen. Sihanouk remains the symbol of national unity, a political icon with great dignity that commands respect from the majority of Cambodians.”


Prince Chakrapong.jpg (6847 bytes)Prince Norodom Chakrapong

is a son of King Norodom Sihanouk. Prince Chakrapong entered the resistant movement with FUNCINPEC in the 1980s and became its military commander. Dissatisfied with FUNCINPEC’s new leader, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, whom he criticized for his pursuit of wealth by any means, Chakrapong defected from the party and joined the CPP in 1992, becoming a politburo member and deputy prime minister in Hun Sen’s government. When the CPP lost the 1993 United Nations sponsored elections, Chakrapong along with Sin Song allegedly orchestrated a secessionist movement in Eastern Cambodia to put pressure on FUNCINPEC to share power with the CPP. The tactic worked, resulting in a power arrangement in which the new government was headed by two prime ministers, first and second, whereas the government portfolios at the central and provincial levels were divided among the three major parties—the CPP, FUNCINPEC and the BLDP. In 1994, Chakrapong, along with other senior CPP military and security officials, organized an aborted coup to overthrow the government of Hun Sen and Ranariddh. He was arrested and sent into exile. He returned to Cambodia after the 1998 political deal between the CPP and FUNCINPEC and now is engaging in private business.


NorodomRanariddh_Small.jpg (42371 bytes)Prince Norodom Ranariddh was born in 1944 and is the eldest son of King Norodom Sihanouk. He obtained a doctoral degree in Public International Law at the University of Aix-en-Provence and then joined the faculty from 1976 to 1983. He quit his job to become actively involved in Cambodian politics. When Sihanouk became the Chairman of the Supreme National Council in 1991, Prince Rannariddh succeeded his father to become the president of the royalist FUNCINPEC party.

In 1993 after his party won the plurality of votes in the UN sponsored elections, he served as the first Prime Minister in a coalition government with Hun Sen as Second Prime Minister. He was ousted by Hun Sen, his junior partner, in a violent coup d’etat in July 1997 and was forced into exile. With active intervention from the international community and from his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, Prince Ranariddh was allowed to return to Cambodia and participate in the 1998 elections. Since then, he has served as the Chairman of the National Assembly and his party once again joined the Cambodia People’s Party to form a coalition.

6.Prince Norodom Sirivudh is a half-brother of King Norodom Sihanouk and a popular and prominent leader of FUNCINPEC. After the 1993 elections, he served as deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs. In 1995, the prince was arrested by then second prime minister Hun Sen on charges of attempting to assassinate him. With active intervention from King Norodom Sihanouk, the prince was sent into exile in France later that year. He was allowed to return to Cambodia after the 1998 agreement between FUNCINPEC and the CPP. In an effort to restructure and strengthen FUNCINPEC after years of factionalism, Prince Norodom Sirivudh, because of his popularity, was appointed by FUNCINPEC as its Secretary General in 2001. The prince is also Supreme Privy Council to his Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace.


Sam Rainsy.jpg (6201 bytes)Sam Rainsy is a Khmer returnee from France where he was educated and worked as an investment banker. After the 1993 United Nations sponsored elections, he became FUNCINPEC’s minister of finance. As a minister, he attempted to transform the financial institutions in Cambodia and was committed to fight corruption and to increase government revenues. Because of his strong commitment against corrupt practices, Rainsy’s popularity rose, making him one of the best-known politicians in Cambodia. His strong stance against the existing establishment earned him many enemies both within his own political party and beyond. As a result, Rainsy was dismissed from his post as minister of finance in 1994, and from the National Assembly in 1995, by his party boss Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Sam Rainsy started his own political party called the Khmer Nation Party, despite the fact that there has been no law on the establishment of new political parties since the promulgation of the National Assembly in 1993. The government did not recognize this political party and thus its members were harassed by the authorities at all levels. It was internal factionalism that brought an end to the Khmer Nation Party. In the run up to the 1998 general elections, Sam Rainsy launched another political party named after himself, the Sam Rainsy Party. The Sam Rainsy Party ran on a platform of nationalism, of anti-corruption, and of fighting for justice for the poor and powerless. The Sam Rainsy Party won 14 of the 120 seats at National Assembly.

8.Sin Song was a senior CPP official and former minister of interior of the government of the State of Cambodia. Sin Song was actively involved in the political violence and intimidation against members of opposition parties during the 1993 United Nations sponsored elections. After the CPP lost the elections, Sin Song along with Prince Chakrapong allegedly organized a succession movement in eastern Cambodia to put pressure on FUNCINPEC to share power. In 1994, he and other senior CPP military and security officers led an aborted coup to overthrow the Ranariddh and Hun Sen coalition government. He then fled the country. He was convicted to absentia and was pardoned by King Sihanouk in 1998. He returned to Cambodia and died in 2000 of diabetes.


SonSann.jpg (6014 bytes)Son Sann was born in 1911 in Southern Vietnam. He was educated in France where he received a degree in commerce from the School for Advanced Commercial Studies. Upon completion of his education in 1933, Son Sann served in numerous positions under the French colonial rule and under Sihanouk regime including governor of the Cambodia’s National Bank, minister of finance, and prime minister. A veteran politician, Son Sann was regarded by many Cambodians as a true nationalist and a man of dignity and high intelligence. After Sihanouk was overthrown in 1970 by General Lon Nol, Son Sann left Cambodia and settled in Paris.

In 1980, Son Sann set up an anti-communist resistance movement, the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) in opposition to the Vietnamese occupying forces and its satellite government, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. The KPNLF joined the royalist FUNCINPEC and the Khmer Rouge to form a Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea. Son Sann served as the prime minister of this government in exile. Prior to the 1993 supervised elections, Son San transformed KPNLF into the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party. This party won 10 seats out of a total 120 seats in the 1993 general elections. Son Sann served briefly as the Chairman of the National Assembly during which time he was actively involved in the supervision of the drafting of the new constitution. By the end of 1993 he retired from public life.

Son Sann died in 2000. The end of his life was marked with frustration when his attempts to introduce democratic pluralism to Cambodia were unsuccessful, and his political party was weakened and then disintegrated by factionalism. His subsequent political party, known as the Son Sann Party, failed to capture a single seat in the 1998 elections.


Son Sen.jpg (15319 bytes)Son Sen, like other members of the Khmer Rouge inner circle, was educated in Paris in the 1950s where he was drawn into communism. Upon his return from France, Son Sen, while working as director of studies at the National Teaching Institute, played a leading role in the clandestine activities of Communist Party of Kampuchea. Fearing Prince Sihanouk’s secret police, Son Sen fled Phnom Penh to the jungle and became Khmer Rouge chief of staff. During Democratic Kampuchea, he served as minister of defense and deputy prime minister. Recent archival research revealed that Son Sen was directly involved in the Khmer Rouge murderous activities and the radical policies that led to the deaths of over a million and a half Cambodians. He was relieved of his official duties in May 1992 because he advocated the idea of participating in the peace process outlined in the Peace Paris Agreements, but was latter reinstated. He, along with his nine children and grandchildren, were murdered in June 1997 by Pol Pot for intending to negotiate with the government.

3.The Pol Pot ‘s Man

(1)Nuon Chea,the second brother

NumChea.jpg (14233 bytes)Nuon Chea was born in 1925. He was deputy secretary of the Central Committee and a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. He was also believed to be Pol Pot’s right hand man. In this capacity, Nuon Chea played a critical role in initiation and implementation of policies of the government of Democratic Kampuchea. Recent archival research revealed that Nun Chea played a critical role in the purges during the DK period through the authorization of detention or execution of Khmer Rouge “enemies.” He is now living freely in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in Northwestern Cambodia along the Thai-Cambodian border that is an autonomous region.

(2) Premier Khieu Samphan

 Samphan_Sihanouk_Small.jpg (14321 bytes)Khieu Samphan (on the left) is believed to have been born in 1931 in Svay Rieng province. Because of his intelligence and hard work, Samphan won a government scholarship to study in France where like many other Cambodian students, he was drawn into Marxism. He earned a doctorate in economics for thesis on Cambodia’s economy. He was elected to the National Assembly twice, in 1962 and again 1964, and served one time in the Sihanouk’s cabinet. Khieu Samphan achieved a reputation as “Mr. Clean” because of his incorruptibility.

Facing intensely increased suppression by Sihanouk against the leftists, Khieu Samphan fled Phnom Penh to join Pol Pot in the jungle. He did not make public appearances until 1973 and during this period he was believed to have been killed by Sihanouk’s secret police. After the Khmer Rouge seizure of power in 1975, Khieu Samphan succeeded Sihanouk as the head of state. Since then he played a crucial role as the spokesperson for the Khmer Rouge, and thus his reputation is slightly better than of Pol Pot, Ieng Sary and other Khmer Rouge leaders. When the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea was created in 1982, Khieu Samphan became its vice president in charge of foreign affairs. Khieu Samphan represented the Khmer Rouge in peace negotiations leading to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 and served as Khmer Rouge representative to the Supreme National Council.

Like many other top Khmer Rouge leaders, Khieu Samphan is now living in Pailin under the control of the Khmer Rouge forces loyal to his brother-in-law and former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary.

(3)Foreign Menistry Heng Samrin

Heng Samrin_Small.jpg (42768 bytes)Heng Samrin was born in 1934 in Prey Veng province. He was little known until his installation as the president of the National United Front for National Salvation by the Vietnamese in whose name the Vietnamese used to justified its invasion of Cambodia in December 1978. Between 1976-1978, Heng Sarin served as political commissar and commander of Democratic Kampuchea’s fourth division stationed in the eastern zone. In May 1978, he was involved in a failed rebellion against Pol Pot’s leadership and fled to Vietnam to escape political purge.

Heng Samrin entered Cambodia with the Vietnamese invading forces and was appointed the president of the State Council and Secretary General of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea and served in that capacity until 1989. However, Heng Samrin did not have a strong power base consequently leading to the erosion of his power as the political climate in Cambodia changed. With anticipation of a comprehensive political settlement, the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea transformed itself into the Cambodian People’s Party with Chea Sim as president and Hun Sen as vice president. Heng Samrin was then given a new ceremonial title of Honorary President.

(4)Ieng Sary

IengSary_Small.jpg (6730 bytes)Ieng Sary was a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and was a deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Democratic Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978. Like Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan, he won a government scholarship to study in France in 1950 and was drawn into communism. A few years after his return from France in the mid-1950s, Ieng Sary was engaged in clandestine revolutionary activities and worked as a schoolteacher. Facing intense crackdown on communists by the Sihanouk regime, in 1963, Ieng Sary, along with Pol Pot, left Phnom Penh for the remote jungle in the Eastern Cambodia.

He escaped to the Thai border after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979 and continued to serve as the Khmer Rouge deputy prime minister in charge of foreign affairs. Ieng Sary transferred formal responsibility in foreign affairs to Khieu Samphan after the creation of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea in 1982. Although he did not hold any formal position within the Khmer Rouge leadership, Ieng Sary was a very powerful figure within the Khmer Rouge as he secured a personal command in Pailin, a gem and timber rich Khmer Rouge stronghold in western Cambodia.

As rifts within the Khmer Rouge intensified as a result of its failure to advance militarily after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 and the drying up of Chinese aid, Ieng Sary defected to the government in 1996 along with the forces he commanded. He was soon pardoned by King Norodom Sihanouk from the death sentenced passed on him in absentia in 1979 by the Vietnamese backed government of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. Although Ieng Sary holds no official position, he is believed to be the de facto leader of this autonomous region.

the Ieng Say profile now


 (5)Khmer Rouge’s Social menistry Ieng Thirith

thre original info above  not so clear, but some info still can read:

IENG THIRITH  was boorn in Sangha Ma 5 ,Phom Phen on march 10th,1932, she studied at the University Sinowath in Pnom Phen and then studied a degree in English Literature in Franch.She merried Ieng Sarry in 1951, her sister merried Pol Pot. Ieng Thirith return to Camboida in 1957 to work as an English Profesor. During the DK period, he was a senior member of the Government and held the position of Menister of Social affairs.

(4)Duch (Kaeng Guek Eav) the chief of Tuel sleng prisoner(the Killing Field)

45 years sought for Duch

Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are seeking a 45-year prison term without parole for former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, saying that the 30-year sentence he received in July is “plainly unjust”, according to an appeal made public Tuesday.
In their 66-page appeal, the prosecutors asked that the former jailer, better known as Duch, receive a life sentence that would then be commuted to 45 years due to his unlawful pretrial detention.
They also requested that “a further reduction be made as appropriate for the very limited mitigating circumstances” in the case, a reduction that international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley said should be five years “at an absolute maximum”.
The prosecutors said the gravity of the crimes committed had led them to “an unmistakable conclusion that the Trial Chamber failed to exercise its sentencing discretion properly”.
“The facts are stubborn. They will not go away,” the prosecutors wrote in their appeal.
“There comes a point where the crimes committed are sufficiently grave and the offender sufficiently notorious, or in such a position of authority, that the highest sentence must be imposed. That point was reached and passed here.”
 Duch became the first person sentenced at the tribunal in July when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for his role as head of the Khmer Rouge secret police and his leadership of Tuol Sleng, a facility in which nearly all of the perhaps 14,000 prisoners who passed through were eventually killed.

The Trial Chamber judges initially settled on a 35-year sentence, rather than a maximum life term, because of mitigating circumstances including Duch’s cooperation with the court and his “limited” expressions of remorse.

 They deducted an additional five years because of the period of unlawful detention Duch served at a military court following his arrest in 1999.
 With credit for time served, Duch stands to be released in roughly 19 years, a sentence that a number of victims charged was unacceptably short.
 Cayley said the decision to appeal had been driven both by legal analysis and public opinion.

“We certainly listened to the public in making this decision, and certainly to the victims, which we have an obligation to do, but I also think we examined the judgment very carefully and we felt that too much consideration was given to the mitigating circumstances,” Cayley said.

 During closing arguments last year, the prosecution requested that Duch receive a 40-year prison term.
 Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, said that in view of international precedent, the nature of Duch’s offences could augur an increased term.
 “The average seems to go up when you’ve committed crimes over an extended period,” Heindel said. “I do think that that is an important factor that should weigh in.”
 Duch’s defence lawyers have also announced plans to appeal against the judgment, charging that their client does not fall within the tribunal’s mandate to investigate “senior leaders and those most responsible” for crimes committed under Democratic Kampuchea.
 The prosecution has requested that appeal hearings be held publicly, and Cayley guessed that they would begin “towards end of this year or the beginning of next year”.

Tuol Sleng survivor Chum Mey said the appeal was in accordance with victims’ wishes.

 “I think if the court sentences [Duch] to 45 years in prison, we would accept it because we consider that the same as a life sentence,” Chum Mey said.
A Khmer  Rouge document written by S-21 prison chief Duch(Kaing Geak Wav) on October,1st.1976. The Letter is  addresed to comerade Pon to used “HOT TORTURE METHOD”..even it may cause ” DEATH ” upon a prisoner accused of hiding his enemis lines and traitors act.
Dear Comarade Pon.
1.Before ten to nine this morning, based on document and report gathered on from our Comerades, I reported to Angkar about Ya’s case concerning his consience.
2.Angkar made decision that if the lowlife Ya continues hiding his enemies lines and traitors act, Angkar will decided  to kill him.This  action in order to stop him from playing tricks on us.One time he accidently mentioned it(the book) and another time he denied the existence  of  the entire of the book  and the another time he denied the existence of the whole book., His action was regarded a disrespectfull toward not only the Security Comminttee but aslo the Party.
3.Therefore you, Comarade can employ hot torture method with force for long period of time upon brother Ya even if may cause death, you comerade,will be not accused of disobeying Party Regulations.
 With Warm  revolutionary Fraternity
October  1,1976

(5) Ta Mok

Tamok.jpg (5908 bytes)Ta Mok, meaning “grandfather” Mok, is an alias for one of the most notorious Khmer Rouge military commanders, Chhit Choeun. Ta Mok is also known as “the butcher” for his role in the violent political purges during the Khmer Rouge rule between 1975-1978 when he served as the party secretary-general of the southwestern zone.

After the Khmer Rouge’s defeat by the Vietnamese forces in 1979, Ta Mok became the vice-chairman of the supreme commission of the national army of Democratic Kampuchea with his base at Along Veng in the northern part of Cambodia along the Thai border. In the 1990s, Ta Mok became very influential within the Khmer Rouge leadership because he commanded a large number of troops, roughly 70 percent of the Khmer Rouge army.

Suffering from factionalism and defection, Ta Mok’s stronghold at Along Veng was captured by the government forces in 1998 and he was driven deeper into the jungle. He was captured in 1999 and now is in jail awaiting trial on charges of genocide.

the end Copyright Dr Iwan suwandy 2011

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