Choeung Ek Genocidal Center a.k.a Killing Field

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The story :

The Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the totalitarian communist Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately following the end of the Vietnam War.




At least 200,000 people were executed by the Khmer Rouge (while estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.4 to 2.2 million out of a population of around 7 million). In 1979, Vietnam invaded and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime, which was officially called Democratic Kampuchea.


The Khmer Rouge judicial process, for minor or political crimes, began with a warning from the Angkar, the government of Cambodia under the regime. People receiving more than two warnings were sent for "re-education", which meant near-certain death. People were often encouraged to confess to Angkar their "pre-revolutionary lifestyles and crimes" (which usually included some kind of free-market activity, or having had contact with a foreign source, such as a US missionary, or international relief or government agency, or contact with any foreigner or with the outside world at all), being told that Angkar would forgive them and "wipe the slate clean". This meant being taken away to a place such as Tuol Sleng or Choeung Ek for torture and/or execution.
The executed were buried in mass graves. In order to save ammunition, the executions were often carried out using hammers, axe handles, spades or sharpened bamboo sticks. Some victims were required to dig their own graves; their weakness often meant that they were unable to dig very deep. The soldiers who carried out the executions were mostly young men or women from peasant families.

The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. Ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Thai, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Chams (Muslim Cambodians), Cambodian Christians, and the Buddhist monkhood were the demographic targets of persecution.

*Pictures are personal collection

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