Cambodia unveils memorial at brutal Khmer Rouge prison site
Cambodia unveiled a new memorial at a notorious Khmer Rouge prison Thursday to remember the thousands who were tortured and murdered there during the ruthless regime`s rule in the late 1970s.
Phnom Penh: Cambodia unveiled a new memorial at a notorious Khmer Rouge prison Thursday to remember the thousands who were tortured and murdered there during the ruthless regime`s rule in the late 1970s.
The $90,000 tribute, reminiscent of a Buddhist stupa and paid for by the German government, was unveiled in front of survivors of the Tuol Sleng prison in the capital Phnom Penh.
"I am satisfied and can die peacefully after seeing this," Chum Mey, 85, one of a few prisoners who came out of the notorious camp alive told AFP after the ceremony.
"It is important for all the victims who were imprisoned, tortured and killed here. I believe their souls will be happy with this memorial," he added.
The Khmer Rouge took a former high school and converted it into a prison after they seized power in 1975.
The site, also known as S-21, has since been turned into a museum to the regime`s brutal massacres.
"This memorial, as well as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, is a place to educate the next generation so that they remember and never allow that dark regime to return again," Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said.
Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998 without ever facing justice, the Khmer Rouge dismantled modern society in Cambodia in their quest for an agrarian Marxist utopia in the 1970s, causing the deaths of up to two million people through starvation, overwork, torture or execution.
In its historic debut trial, the court in 2010 sentenced former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, to 30 years in prison -- later increased on appeal to life -- for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.
Last August Nuon Chea, 88, known as "Brother Number Two", and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 83, were given life sentences for crimes against humanity -- both have appealed.
The pair are currently undergoing a second trial centred around the killing of ethnic Vietnamese and Muslim minorities, forced marriage and rape.
Earlier this month, an investigating judge at the court charged two more former Khmer Rouge cadres with crimes against humanity despite the country`s strongman premier Hun Sen warning that prosecuting further suspects could ignite a civil war.