PHNOM PENH – Dressed in black uniforms, Cambodian actors re-enacted on Monday the atrocities of the hardline-Communist Khmer Rouge on the country’s National Day of Remembrance.
The performance, on what is also known as the Day of Anger, was held at Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (or the Killing Fields) around 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) south of capital Phnom Penh.
Others attended the Day of Remembrance dressed in white and placed yellow flowers and lit incense to commemorate victims at the stupas and altars of Choeung Ek, where skulls of victims are kept in a glass memorial stupa.
Around 8,895 bodies were exhumed from mass graves at the Killing Fields, but more graves in the area remain untouched.
Around 2 million people died due to starvation, torture, execution and forced labor during the reign of the regime, which came into existence during the Vietnam War and sought to create an agrarian Communist utopia.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge after the invasion of the Vietnamese Army.
In Nov. 2018, the United Nations-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia found former regime number two Nuon Chea, 92, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 87, guilty of genocide in the first ruling of its kind for the court. They were also found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to life in prison.
The pair had already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for crimes against humanity by the hybrid court created by the UN and the Cambodian government in 2006 to try Khmer Rouge leaders.
The court passed its first sentence – of life imprisonment – in 2010 against Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, for crimes against humanity. Duch was commander of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison (or S21) where at least 12,000 people were killed.
The leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, died in northern Cambodia in 1998.