The body of former Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea was cremated on Friday at the Prumkirimorakot pagoda in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district after a low-key seven-day funeral.
Chea’s daughter Lao Chealinda told The Post on Sunday that her family and relatives were considering building a stupa to keep his remains at the same pagoda.
“We are discussing among relatives and family members. We have not decided on the appropriate time yet because the funeral has just finished,” she said.
Sala Krao district police chief Ry Dara told The Post on Sunday the funeral for Chea, who was second-in-command only to the late Pol Pot, had proceeded for seven days without any incidents, though he noted only a small number of people had attended.
“I have not received any information about his 100th-day ceremony. If it’s held, our authorities will help maintain security for them,” he said.
Youk Chhang, the executive director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said despite low attendance, the smooth funeral demonstrated Cambodians’ willingness to forgive regardless of the suffering they had endured under the Khmer Rouge.
He said Chea’s authoritarian leadership and his subsequent trial for crimes against humanity at the Khmer Rouge tribunal is a lesson to be learnt if such atrocities are to be avoided in future.
“It takes so much forgiveness . . . Only by learning from the mistakes can you achieve your success, because you cannot copy success from others,” he said.
Chea died on August 4 at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital. He was 93. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, did not reveal what he had died of, saying his health information was confidential.
The ECCC found Chea guilty in November of genocide against ethnic Vietnamese, the Cham Muslim minority group and former officials in the previous Khmer Republic government.
Chea was the president of the Khmer Rouge’s state legislature. He was sentenced to life in prison by the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Case 002/02, along with Khieu Samphan, the ultra-Maoist regime’s head of state.