Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Senior minister, early KR researcher dies at age 78

Senior minister, early KR researcher dies at age 78

Former minister of cults and religion, Min Khin, talks during a cultural event at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theatre in 2008.
Former minister of cults and religion, Min Khin, talks during a cultural event at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theatre in 2008. Heng Chivoan

Senior minister, early KR researcher dies at age 78

Min Khin, a senior minister and one of the earliest advocates for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime, died on Friday morning at the age of 78.

Khin’s eldest son, Min Madeth, said on Thursday that treatment his father had been receiving in Thailand in recent months had ceased to be effective and the family were to transport him back to Phnom Penh to deliver his last words to his loved ones that night.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said yesterday that Khin was on the verge of death for the journey and stopped breathing when oxygen delivery equipment was removed upon his arrival on Friday morning.

Khin was minister of cults and religion from 2008 until this March, when he was appointed minister of special missions in a reshuffle.

With the exception of the Khmer Rouge regime, Khin spent the majority of his adult life in public service. Prior to the evacuation of Phnom Penh, he had been a clerk at the city’s municipal court. It was this legal apprenticeship that would provide him with the tools to set about in 1979 becoming, in the words of director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) Youk Chhang, “the first Cambodian genocide researcher in Cambodia”.

Khin was employed by the Vietnamese-led government in 1979 to travel the country collecting survivor testimony “with empty hands [and] only a piece of paper and a pencil to document the Khmer Rouge crimes”, Chhang said. In 1983, Khin published his report and, along with it, a petition bearing the signatures and thumbprints of 1.1 million survivors. The petition called for an international tribunal to investigate and try the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.

Khin had said that lack of international recognition for the People’s Republic of Kampuchea left the petition with nowhere to be delivered, and when Vietnamese forces withdrew in 1989, the boxes containing his research were almost cast into the Mekong River along with thousands of other official documents.

The boxes, however, were saved and provided Chhang with the foundations to begin his work at DC-Cam, following up with as many of the signatories as he could, eventually leading to thousands of civil party suits at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. “He actually captured the history of the crimes in a way nobody else can do it,” Chhang said.

Khin is survived by six children.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished