3History of Cambodian Genocide In 1953, Cambodia gained independence after nearly 100 years of French ruleVietnam also defeated the French for their independence in 1954Prince Norodom Sihanouk took charge of the newly born state.
4History of Cambodian Genocide Prince Sihanouk alienated the U.S.:Struck up friendship with China, America’s foeIrritated President Nixon by trying to keep Cambodia neutral in the war with VietnamU.S. backed Lon NolPro-American, but also corrupt, repressive, and incompetentWas able to temporarily dispel the government in 1970.Unfortunately the U.S. backed a loser in Lon NolIn 1972, he declared himself president, prime minister, defense minister, and marshal of the armed forces. The United States only cared that he was a staunch anti-Communist.The U.S. spent $1.85 billion between 1970 and 1975, popping up his regime.
5History of Cambodian Genocide Prince Sihanouk went on to found the Royal Government of National Union of Kampuchea (GRUNK).This government boasted of many neutralists like the Prince and many non-Communists who eventually deflected to form the Khmer RougeLon Nol now faced enemies of anti-communists and the Khmer Rouge
6History of Cambodian Genocide A year earlier, 1969, President Nixon expanded the war into CambodiaIn April of 1970, he sends in ground troops to clean out North Vietnamese Communists in CambodiaPresident Nixon feared the North Vietnamese units were taking sanctuary in neighboring Cambodia. B-52’s bombed Cambodia in the Code named operation, Operation Breakfast.The mission was kept top secret for fear of domestic protest. The first phase of the bombing campaign lasted 14 months and was U.S. bombers flew 3,875 sorties.Frustrated, he was not able to clean out North Vietnamese from Cambodia, in April of 1970, he ordered ground troops in. 31,000 American and 43,000 South Vietnamese surged into Cambodia, ostensibly to prevent the Communists there from staging “massive attacks” on U.S. troops in Vietnam.
7History of Cambodian Genocide The U.S. ground invasion occurred at the beginning of Cambodia’s 5 year civil warOne one side was Lon Nol and the U.S.The other side were Vietnamese Communists and the radical Cambodian Communist Revolutionaries, the Khmer Rouge, or Red KhamerThe Khmer Rouge had been educated in Paris, studied Maoist thought, and received extensive political and military support from China.The Khmer Rouge leadership had recruited into their army those they deemed in Mao’s words “poor and blank” rather than those with schooling. A sheet of blank paper carries no burden, Mao had noted, and the most beautiful characters can be written on it, the most beautiful pictures painted.Under the leadership of Saloth, Sar, who later assumed the pseudonym Pol Pot, they had left Cambodia’s cities in the 1960’s out of frustration with Prince Sihanouk’s authortarian rule, to plot revolution from the Cambodian and Vietnamese countryside.When Lon Nol’s government took power the KR began fighting Lon Nol’s government and made Prince Sihanouk the figurehead leader of an unlikely coalition. This earned them the support form the millions of Cambodians who trusted Sihanouk, the likeable man who had brought them independence.The Cambodian army enjoyed a huge numerical edge over the rebels, many wer unenthusiastic about fighting on behalf of Lon Nol.
8History of Cambodian Genocide U.S. bombings in Cambodia were a derivative of U.S. designs on Vietnam so when the U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, the bombings in Cambodia were harder to justify.U.S. bombings were resented by the Cambodians and were drawn to the promise of peace by the Khmer RougeBetween March 1969 and August 1973, U.S. planes dropped more than 540,000 tons of bombs onto the Cambodian countryside.The U.S. b 52 bombs killed tens of thousands of civilians. Villagers who happened to be away from home returned to find nothing but dust and blood mixed with body parts.By 1973, inflation in Cambodia topped 275%, 40% of roads and 1/3 of all bridges were unusable.Many have aruged that the KR ranks swelled primarily because of U.S. intervention
9Pol PotHe and his army, called the Khmer Rouge, came to power in Cambodia in 1975.He was named prime minister of the new communist government in 1976 and began a program of violet reform.In hope of creating a society free of western influence, he abolished religion, institute, private property and evacuated cities.Under his regime, forced labor, execution and famine killed ~2 million Cambodians.
10History of Cambodian Genocide Diplomats, journalists, and Cambodians speculated about Khmer Rouge intentions before they actually seized power.The omens of imminent mass violence were there, but largely dismissed.Elizabeth Becker, wrote a full-length feature for on the Khmer Rouge for the Washington Post in March 1974.Before the fall of Phnom Penh in April 1975, Cambodia’s communists were known to cause some Americans alarm.Kenneth Quinn, an American who worked in Vietnam as an provincial advisor. One day in 1973, He hiked up a mountain in Vietnam that allowed him to see terrain for 10 miles around. He was able to see Cambodia’s cluster of cities on fire. He sent the report to Washington.In February 1974, he wrote a 45 page classified report “The Khmer Krahom (rouge) Program to Create a Communist Society in Southern Cambodia. Told how they were forcing people to leave their homes, separating children from parents, killing those who disobeyed.His detailed accounts was at complete odds with the prevailing view in Washington that held that the KR were simply an extension of the North Vietnamese and Vietcong. His reports were never heeded.March 1974, Elizabeth Becker writes an expose for the Washington Post. She interviewd many KR peasants and soldiers. She quoted Cambodians who defected from KR zones. She was the first to mention Pol Pot, who was still known by his given name of Saloth Sar. It was the first to note that relations between the KR and the Vietnamese Communists were strained. And it was the first to describe the cruelty of the KR.For the remainder of 1974 and into 1975, journalists attempted to shed light on the KR leadership.Few Cambodia watchers grasped what lay ahead before it was too late.
11History of Cambodian Genocide The Toll of Cambodia’s 5 year civil war had been immense1 million Cambodians had been killedMany were displaced, causing the capital to swell from 600,000 to 2 million by 1975Many believed the KR atrocities were just a part of war, not their ideologyLon Nol only promised more of the same and a U.S. backing.If anybody had the grounds to anticipate systematic brutality, it seems logical that it would be those most immediately endangered. Yet those with the most at stake are in fact often the least prone to recognize their peril. The Cambodian people were frightened by the reports of atrocities in KR- occupied countryside, but they retained resilient hope.In every Cambodian’s mind, it was the concrete features of horrifying immediate war that won out over the more abstract fear of the unknown.The toll of the civil war on Cambodia’s civilians was immense. Some 1 million Cambodians had been killed. Cannibalism was widespread, as soldiers were told that eating the livers of captured enemies would confer the power of the vanquished upon the victor.Many Cambodians had been displaced causing the capital to swell from 600,000 to 2 million by 1975.Many assumed the KR excesses were the product of the heat of battle, and not the result of ideology or innate callousness.As the KR closed in on the capital, many visualized the end of bombs, deprivation, and bullets , and a return to their buddhist peaceful heritage.Having known only conflict for 5 years, the Cambodians considered the communists KR promise of peace an appealing alternative. The Lon Nol government promised only for the dim present. Having watched their leaders cozy up to the U.S. and the U.S. repay them by bombing and invading their country.
12History of Cambodian Genocide April 12, 1945, President Ford orders the American departureApril 17, 1945, the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh and seized the government.Order everyone to leave the capitalKR claims US B-52’s are going to bomb the capitalKnew they couldn’t feed the number of people in the swollen capital so force them to move closer to food sourcesSlashed tires of cars so they had to travel on footIn early 1975, senior U.S. policymakers in Gerald Ford’s administration reiterated earlier warnings that a bloodbath would follow a KR triumph.In March 1975, President Ford himself predicted a “massacre” if Phnom Penh fell to Khmer Rouge.George McGovern, a leader of the antiwar movement trusted nothing the government said and expected the KR to form a government run by some of the best-educated, most able intellectuals in Cambodia’s history.By April 1975, most American and European journalists had left Phnom Penh. 26 reporters had already gone missing.
13History of Cambodian Genocide 1975 was deemed year zeroattempted to turn Cambodia into a classless society by depopulating cities and forcing the urban population into agricultural communesEnemies were: ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Chinese, Muslim chams, Buddhist monks, intellectuals (anyone completing 7th grade), anyone suspected of even momentary disloyaltyMoney, private property, education and even religion were outlawed as all Cambodians were rehoused in concentration camps as farmers. Phones, televisions, books, were gathered in central squares and burned.History now calls this era the Killing Fields, as more than a million people died. Many were overworked and had to work for almost 15 hours a day non-stop with only one meal. Work lasted from 6am to 9pm, after which they had to listen to classes on the greatness of the Khmer Rouge. Men, women and families were separated and contact with each other was prohibited. One could even be killed for trying to find one's wife or child. Often, Khmer officials would hire nannies to take care of their children on the pretext that the children were orphans who needed a home. Life truly was brutal even for officials and the civiliansTrenches were dug and prisoners killed. This was the kind of killing that journalists and U.S. embassy officials in Phnom Penh had expected.Enemies were:Those the Khmer Rouge called traitorsEthinic VietnameseEthnic ChineseMuslim ChamsBuddhist monks“Class enemies: all intellectuals or those who had completed the 7th grade
14History of Cambodian Genocide Once reporters departed, the last independent sources of information dried upFor the next three and a half years, the American public would piece together a picture of life behind the Khmer curtainInformation came from KR public statements, which were few; from Cambodian radio, which was propaganda; from refugee accounts, which were doubted, and from Western intelligence sources, which were scarce and suspect
15History of the Cambodian Genocide May 1975, President Ford announced that Cambodian officials and their spouses have been executed.American administration had little credibilityIt would be 2 years before most would acknowledge that this time the bloodbath reports were true.Kissenger had bloodied Cambodia with his policy during the Vietnam warMany thought these horror stories were designed to justify the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and VietnamThe U.S. had similarily warned that the fall of Saigon would result in slaughter, but when the city fell April 20, 1975, the handover was far milder than expected.The American public had learned to dismiss what it deemed as official rumor-mongering and anti-Communist propaganda.It would be two years before most would acknowledge that this time the bloodbath reports were true.
16History of Cambodian Genocide With embassy closed and journalists cut off, information was hard to obtain.The “Southwest Asia fatigue” from Vietnam compounded the problemReceived very little newspaper or television coverageReporters trained to authenticate their stories by visiting or confirming them with multiple sources had a hard time. Most ran reports with disclaimers that said inconclusive accounts or unconfirmed reportsThe caution was warranted, but it gave those inclined to look away further excuse for doing so. By waiting for the full story to emerge, politicians, journalists, and citizens were guaranteeing they would not get emotionally or politically involved until it was too late.The KR sealed the country completely. Cambodia was perhaps the most extreme case and the KR may have run the most secretive government of the 20th century.The dropoff for U.S. press coverage of Cambodia was dramatic. Between 1970 and 1975, when U.S. was still actively engaged in SE Asia, the Washington Post and New York Times published more than 700 stories on Cambodia each year. In the single month of April 1975, when the KR took the capital, they ran 272 stories on Cambodia. But in Dec. 1975, they ran only 8 stories and in the entire year of 1976, they ran 126, in 1977, 118.Cambodia received even less play on television. Between April and June of 1975, when the capital was falling and U.S. pulling out, the three major networks combined gave Cambodia less than 2.5 minutes of airtime. During the entire 3 ½ years of the regime, the networks devoted less than 60 mintues to the subject.
17History of Cambodian Genocide Americans clung to the few public statements of senior KR officials who consistently refuted the claimsEven Amnesty International, the largest human rights organization in the world, was not yet ready to respond forcifully.Said you should not believe the refugees from Thailand because these people have committed crimes and should be returned to Thailand.In Sept , Pol Pot said that only the smallest possible number out of the 1 or 2 percent of Cambodians who opposed the revolution had been eradicated. Conceding some of the killings gave them credibility.Another factor that blunted understanding of the evil of the regime was that many Cambodians died of starvation and malnutrition, which outsiders associated with “natural” economic or climatic forces.Amnesty International was founded in 1961 with a budget of 19,000. It was more of a letter writing organization best suited for getting political prisoners freed from jail.Even when they had reliable information in hand, Amnesty officials operated much like the committees the United Nations had established to monitor human rights, the avoided public shaming when possible and approached governments directly.
18History of Cambodian Genocide Many came around once they had personal contact with traumatized refugees.The first photographs were not smuggled out until April of 1977.Refugees were telling tales that could hardly be believed. Charles Twining, a 33 year old foreign service official kept telling himself, This is not possible in this day and age. This is not 1942, This is 1975.Even when you no longer assume they are exaggerating, it was another step to move along the continuum to understanding. “I do not believe you are lying, I simply said I can’t believe you.”Ellie Wiesel has spoken of the difference between information and knowledge.The first photos were not smuggled out until April 1977 and they depicted harsh, forced labor conditions, but not the systematic elimination of whole ethnic groups and classes.
19History of Cambodian Genocide Those who tried to generate press coverage did so assuming that establishing the facts would empower the United States and other Western governments to act.U.S. officials could have publicly branded Pol Pot’s killings as genocide, but they did not do so. Because the treaty excluded political groups and so many of the KR murders were committed against perceived politcal enemies, it was actually a harder fit than one would expect.Israel became the first nation to raise the issue of Cambodia at the United Nations. (march 1978?) The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Syria teamed up to delay consideration another year.Some feared it would anger the KR to intensify their violenceU.S. might have pressured China, the KR’s main backer, to use its leverage to deter the KR from murder.State Department and White house officials assumed nothing could be done
20History of Cambodian Genocide Vietnam invades Cambodia on Dec. 25, 1978 and seizes Phnom Penh on Jan. 7, 1979.Vietnam establishes the People's Republic of KampucheaIronically, it was the Vietnamese who helped rid Cambodia of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Aided by defectors from the Khmer Rouge's main government, Vietnam fought to gain control of Phnom Phenh and finally succeeded on January 7, 1979.Considering that the Cambodians had spent all their lives fighting Vietnamese attack, it was strange that this invasion was more of a blessing than a curse. Pol Pot and his followers were forced to retreat westwards and were granted asylum in Thailand, where they settled on the border of Burma and Thailand-an already politically tumultuous region.The Khmer Rouge was fortunate to have the unofficial protection of the Thai army but this fact was not made public until slightly more than a decade ago when the UN came under pressure to bring the perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide to justice. Pol Pot and his men had been keeping alive through the illegal diamond timber and poppy plant trade, which they used to train young children as future soldiers of the Khmer Rouge.
21History of Cambodian Genocide The Khmer Rouge were overthrown and sent into a retreatThey receive aid from the United States as well as hang on to the official Cambodian seat in the United NationsStruggles continue as China supports and provides arms to the Khmer Rouge and Russia supports a fully Communist VietnamUN and the USA rallied for recognition of a "Democratic Kampuchea" headed by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the son of Prince Sihanouk.It was 1979 and the world was in the depths of the Cold War which only exacerbated things. Cambodia was no longer simply a country that had just experienced a genocide but a pawn in the fight between democracy and communism.The rift between China and Russia also saw Cambodia caught in this struggle. China supported and provided arms to the Khmer Rouge all the way to the late 1980s while Russia supported Vietnam in its attempt to make Cambodia fully communist.Eastern and central Vietnam may have been in Vietnamese hands but the west remained in political anarchy as landmines littered the fields and the democrats, Vietnamese communists and the Khmer Rouge fought for supremacy.
22History of Cambodian Genocide Upon seizing the country, Vietnamese find evidence of mass murder everywhere.The Tuol Sleng Examination Center in Phnom Penh, code named Office S-21, became an emblem of terrorFound instructions for inmatesFound an interrogators manualWas turned into Tuol Sleng MusueumThey were sure this proof would strengthen the legitimacy of their intervention and puppet rule.Every neighborhood seemed to unfurl a mass grave of its own. Bones could still be seen protruding from the earth.Some 2 million Cambodians out of a populace of 7 million were either executed or starved to death. (About 20% of the population) The Vietnamese minorities were completely wiped out.The Tuol Sleng Examination Center in Phnom Penh, code named Office S-21, became an emblem of terrorLike the Nazi’s, those who ran the extermination center were bureaucratically precise. Prisoners were photographed either upon their arrival or upon their death. They were tortured, often electrocuted as they hung by their feet with their heads submerged in jars of water. They were forced to sign confessions affirming their status as CIA or Vietnamese agents and to prepare their list of networks of traitors. Then they were murdered.They found a set of instructions for inmates posted at the interogation center You must answer in conformity with the questions I ask you. Don’t try to turn away my questions Don’t try to escape by making pretexts according to your hypocritical ideas 3. Don’t be a fool you are a chap who dares thwart the revolution During the bastinado or the electrification you must not cry loudlyOnly ten people survived Tuol Sleng
23History of Cambodian Genocide Torture center testified to the cruelty of the KR regime1979 -The Vietnamese then installed a puppet government consisting of Khmer Rouge defectors with Heng Samrin as leaderPeople’s Republic of KampucheaThe Khmer Rouge fought against the newly appointed government with the help of US training, funds, weaponsThe US policy became the choosing the lesser evilDid not want to side with Communist Vietnam so the lesser evil was the Khmer Rouge. Also did not want to ruin our new relations with China.George McGovern learned of the Vietnam victory and thought it offered real irony. After all those years, it was Vietnam that went in and stopped Pol Pot’s slaughter. Whatever their motivation, the Vietnamese were the ones who supplied the military force to stop they genocide. They should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize.China had a route to get weapons to the Khmer Rouge
24History of Cambodian Genocide 1989 Vietnamese troops withdraw from CambodiaCountry is renamed the State of CambodiaFighting continues for over a decade, before all political factions in Cambodia sign a treaty in 1991 calling for elections and disarmament.Fighting broke out again in 1992By the end of 1989, the cold war had ended and the Vietnamese exited Cambodia. Without the financial backing of the Soviet Union, the Vietnamese couldn’t keep their troops in the country.This withdrawal made things difficult for Cambodians, especially the prime minister, Hun Sen. The Khmer Rouge had not disappeared, but had made their presence known and were threatening military action. Since Cambodia was without much needed foreign aid, they discarded socialism and tried to get investors interested in the country.Another major change was in the country's name, it was changed to the State of Cambodia (SOC), while the KPRP (who currently ruled Cambodia) changed their name to the Cambodian People's Party. An attempt to have a free-market economy just increased the gap between the rich and the poor with many government officials becoming millionaires.
25History of Cambodian Genocide 1993- The monarchy is restored, Sihanouk becomes king again. The country is re-named the Kingdom of Cambodia. The government-in-exile loses its seat at the UN.1998- Pol Pot dies and is never brought to trial2004- Elderly King Sihanouk turns monarchy over to son, King Sihamoni, but real political power is held by elected President Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge officer.
262. Headlines from newspaper “Never Again the Khmer Rouge”New York Times, Oct“Difficult to prove genocide in Cambodia’s killing fields”The Associated Press, September
273. Speech and quotes“ I watched many Cambodians friends being herded out of Phnom Penh. Most of them I never saw again. All of us felt like betrayers, like people who were protected and didn’t do enough to Phnom Penh when the Khmer Rouger marched in victorious in April save our friends. We felt shame. We still do.”a foreign journalist in 17th 1975“ a number of people, many of them survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides risk oversimplification, and may lessen or even absolute guilt - a concern that is accentuated when perpetrators assert that they were ‘only obeying orders.’ “Alexander Laban Hinton , author of Why did they kill?
287. Reporters and photojournalists Robert Bingham, Michael Perkins, Jeff Apostolou, Mark Norris, Don Riley, David Chandler, Sara Colm, Peter Maguire.“The Photo Archive Group's work in Cambodia benefited from the generous help of numerous organizations and individuals, including Robert Bingham, Michael Perkins, Jeff Apostolou, Mark Norris, Don Riley, David Chandler, Sara Colm, Peter Maguire, The Indochina Media Memorial Fund, Calumet Holdings Inc., The Saunders Group, Light Impressions, The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund”
298. Role of the UN“United Nations administrative tribunal helps those people who lived under Cambodian genocide to seek for their justice.”“The United Nations Peace building Commission helps to ensure predictable financing for early recovery activities and sustained financial investment over the medium- to longer-term.”
309. Members of the UN“Responding to the invitation of the Secretary-General, His Excellency Kofi Annan, a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Sok An Senior Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers has come to New York and has engaged in seven meetings - one with the Secretary-General himself, and six with representatives of the United Nations Secretariat, led by His Excellency Hans Corell, Legal Counsel, preparing for a resumption of negotiations for Khmer Rouge Trials for these crimes, in accordance with the General Assembly Resolution 57/288 of 18 December 2002.”Thomas Hammarberg is the representative for Cambodia and was the one able to get the Cambodian government to ask for help from the United Nations
3110. International communities’ response The process of justice for the genocide in Cambodia started on June 21, 1997, when the Cambodian co-prime ministers asked the United Nations to step in and help organize the trials for those involved in the Khmer Rouge.In 1998 a group of experts was formed to examine the evidence, the law and different options of how to proceed with the trials of the Khmer Rouge. This group worked from July 1998 until February 1999 looking at three different things: evaluating the evidences and the crime, apprehending people responsible, the different option for bringing people to justice.
32Symbolic emblemSR-21, a former school was turned into a torture factory during the Cambodia genocide. Thousands of people who were sent here would be given a number tag, as a symbol of recognition. Those people would later be tortured or executed.A total of 14,000 Cambodians were jailed here and only 10 of them survived.Photos of prisoners with number tags on.
33SummaryBy 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime had killed around 2 million people, which is about 30% of the population. The Khmer Rouge was head by Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot. On April 17th 1975 the Khmer Rouge , a communist group led by Pol Pot, took power in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.The Khmer Rouge turned back the clock on Cambodia to more uncivilized times. Institutions such as stores, banks, hospitals, schools, religion and family were all banned. City dwellers were all forced to the countryside and to work in labor camps. The citizens worked 12 to 14 hour days inside the labor camps.The Khmer Rouge targeted Buddhist monks, Western –educated intellectuals, educated people in general, people who had contact with Western countries, people who appeared to be intelligent (for example, individuals with glasses), the cripple, the lame and ethnic minorities like ethnic Laotians and Vietnams.
34BibliographyBurie, Vongko. “ Then UN should be held accountable in a major part of the genocide in Cambodia”. Cambodian Information Center, on the web 28 Oct OctThul Chan,Park. “commune Chiefs: Where Was the UN from ?. The Cambodia Daily. On the web 28 Jun. OctMaguire, Peter. Facing Death in Cambodia, Colombia University Press, New York, 2005Etcheson, Craig. After the Killing Fields, Praeger Publishing, Westport CT, 2005