Norng Chan Phal was only a child when he last saw his mother and now – in the very cell where they last met – he tells about the arrest of his parents and the cruelty he witnessed when he was behind bars.
Thirty years after the end of the dictatorship comes the first landmark sentence for Kaing Guek Eav, the director of the S-21 camp where more than 12,000 people were killed. The defendant was condemned by the Extraordinary Chambers of the UN-backed Courts of Cambodia on accounts of murder, torture, rape and crimes against humanity.
the "big brothers" of genocide in Cambodia
The genocide took place between 1975 and 1978.
Cambodia is a South-Eastern Asian country neighbouring with Vietnam. Colonized by the French, in 1953 it became an independent country led by prince Norodom Sihanouk. He was overthrown in 1970 by a coup of general Lol Non, supported by the United States. After a fierce campaign against the communists and vietnamese who were there in the country, in 1975 the power was seized by the Khmer rouges, a tiny group of Leninist background which had become popular especially in the rural areas of the North. They proclaimed the Republic of Democratic Kampuchea.
The Khmer Rouge was a group driven by the need to find new “objective enemies” and it exterminated a big part of the population according to their religion, race and political views. Accountability and implementation of the genocide by Khmer Rouge movement must be identified among the “big brother”, a group of 20-25 people united under similar educational experiences and views. This group was influenced by Stalinistic ideals; the “Big Brother” developed an orthodox version of communism based on an exaggerated vision and used the concept of race as a pretext propaganda to justify the persecutions of the “objective enenmies”. In Cambodia, there was an “archipelago of concentration camps” to re-educate people, which was called S-21; Duch, one of the members of the “Big Brother” even confessed that the prisoners were being tortured and excruciated before killing them.