Nowadays the Khmer Rouge leaders - such as Noun Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary
(and his wife, Ieng Thirith) - like to talk about forgetting the past. But when they
had power (1975-79), they did not want to forget the past; they remembered everyone
from the past society, and tried to kill them all.
The Khmer Rouge leaders like to talk about "national reconciliation", but
during the Khmer Rouge regime they did not want to reconcile with anyone; it was
obey, or die.
The Khmer Rouge leaders like to talk about how developing the economy is the only
priority; well, the reason the economy is so underdeveloped is because the Khmer
Rouge destroyed it instead of building it.
The Khmer Rouge leaders like to talk about how "stability" and "preserving
the peace" are the most important things, when what they are really doing is
threatening to resume their war in order to intimidate people from acting on their
hunger for justice.
So I think the Khmer Rouge leaders do not speak honestly, they do not speak the truth
from their hearts. Instead, they speak in code words, designed for their own interest,
rather than for the interests of the nation as a whole.
For real peace, for real national reconciliation, for real development, and for real
stability, Cambodia must confront the truth and find justice.
This can only be done if those responsible for the genocide and crimes against humanity
are brought before the court and are made to explain themselves, and defend their
actions before the people, if they can. Only then can Cambodians put their terrible
past behind them and begin to build a new future.
The Khmer Rouge genocide regime has been defeated in war, but it has not yet been
defeated by the law. Cambodia cannot become a nation with the rule of law until this
happens. And without the rule of law, Cambodia will not develop into a peaceful and
That is why my staff and I at the Documentation Center of Cambodia remain dedicated
to the cause of finding genocide justice in Cambodia.
It is not about revenge; it is about truth. It's not about the past; it's about today.
Help us put the perpetrators of one of the worst communist genocides in history where
they belong: in jail.
Youk Chhang Director, Documentation Centre of Cambodia