Cambodia remembers Khmer Rouge victims on `Day of Anger`

About 1,000 people Tuesday marked Cambodia`s annual "Day of Anger" against the genocidal former Khmer Rouge regime, with black-clad students wielding hoes and bamboo sticks to mimic their crimes in the late 1970s.

AFP| Last Updated: May 20, 2014, 14:10 PM IST

Choeung Ek: About 1,000 people Tuesday marked Cambodia`s annual "Day of Anger" against the genocidal former Khmer Rouge regime, with black-clad students wielding hoes and bamboo sticks to mimic their crimes in the late 1970s.

The crowd, including monks and children, watched the re-enactment at the Choeung Ek "Killing Fields" on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the site of mass graves for victims of the 1975-79 fanatical Maoist regime.

Dozens of fine arts students recreated the bloody scenes at the emotional event, which is organised by Phnom Penh authorities.

"The Khmer Rouge regime was very cruel. They killed their own people," said Chik Sarom, 60, who lost 10 relatives.

"The regime was like hell on earth. The Khmer Rouge leaders must be sentenced to life in prison," he added.

Up to two million people were executed or died from starvation, overwork or torture during the Khmer Rouge era.

Its two most senior surviving leaders have been brought before a UN-backed court. The hearing has been split into a series of smaller trials, initially focusing on the forced evacuation of people into rural labour camps and related charges of crimes against humanity.

The first trial against "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, 87, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 82, was completed late last year.

A verdict is expected in the middle of this year, according to court spokesman Lars Olsen.

The next trial, for which a date has not been set, will focus on crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide charges. 

After its first trial in 2010 the court sentenced former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, to 30 years in prison -- increased to life on appeal -- for overseeing the death of 15,000 people.