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

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • ‘Action needed to stop road deaths doubling by next year’

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has expressed concern over the rate of traffic accidents, saying the death toll will double by 2020 if no effective preventive measures were put in place. At least five people on average are killed on Cambodian roads every day. The interior

  • Cambodian rice to lose EU duty-free status

    The Cambodian rice sector is set to lose its duty-free export status to the EU today – its major rice market – after the European bloc decided to impose tariffs on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb a surge in such imports. The decision will be