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What is Khmer Rouge?

It was the name for the Communist Party of Kampuchea

Who were involved?

Khmer Rouge/Supporters Pol Pot (Leader) Nuon Chea (2nd in command) leng Sary (Brother-in law of Pol Pot) Victims/Opposition Citizens of Cambodia Doctors, teachers, lawyers and students (Intellectuals) The Multi-Lingual (people whom are able to speak foreign language)

Son Sen (Member of central committee of Khmer Rouge)

Hun Sen (Current Prime minister of Cambodia)

Khieu Samphan (Chinese-Khmer Ancestry)

China(Main Backer), North Korea (Lesser Extent), Vietnam(Until December 1977), Egypt, Albania, Cuba, Laos, Romania and Yugoslavia

The United States

Vietnam (Cambodia-Vietnamese War)

How Khmer Rouge gained power.

The flash point came when Cambodia's leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, was deposed in a military coup in 1970 and leaned on the Khmer Rouge for support. The prince's imprimatur lent the movement (Khmer Rouge) legitimacy. With North Vietnam and Chinas support of the Khmer rouge, coupled with the withdrawal of United States assistance enabled Khmer Rouge to secure power easily.

How Khmer Rouge gained power.

Although the prince would nominally serve as head of state, he spent much of the Khmer Rouge's rule under house arrest. As the country descended into civil war, the Khmer Rouge presented themselves as a party for peace and succeeded in mobilizing support in the countryside.

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

After the Khmer Rouge gained power, they focused on an ideology of establishing a purely agrarian society. Pol Pot felt that the way the tribes of the north-eastern jungles lived, free of Buddhism, money of education, was a good way for the people of Cambodia to start living. Pol Pot wanted all social institutions to be removed. He used this proposition of turning Cambodia into a complete communist society without wasting time on intermediate steps to garner support from China. (Before Khmer Rouge gained power)

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

The Khmer Rouge has used the policy of Social Engineering. The Khmer Rouge forced around two million people from the cities to the country to take up work in the agricultural field. They were not only forcing people out of their homes, but then also depriving humans of their basic rights as they controlled how Cambodians acted, what they wore, who they could talk to, and many other aspects of their lives. They killed those who were suspected of being traitors.

Term Social Engineering

It refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups.

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

Children were separated from their families from birth and given through indoctrination.

These children were encouraged to play cruel games which included the torture of animals.
Having lost the Buddhist values of their elders and under consistent indoctrination, these children become enthusiastic accomplice in some of the regimes worst atrocities.

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

Thousands of teachers were executed after Khmer Rouge gained power.

People educated prior to 1975 had to hide their identities to survive.

Education was only on basic mathematical skills and literacy. Major goal of the new education system was to instill

Revolutionary values in the young.

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

Healthcare facilities was poor as many physicians were either executed or prohibited from their practices.

Only the government had access to western medicine.

For the rest of the people, they had to use herbal remedies which were usually ineffective.

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

The country's Buddhist monks were regarded by the regime as social parasites.

The monks were defrocked and forced into labour brigades.

Many monks were executed, the temples and pagodas were either destroyed or turned into storehouses or gaols. The Christian and Muslim communities also were even more persecuted, as they were labelled as part of a proWestern cosmopolitan sphere, which hindered Cambodian culture and society.

After Khmer Rouge gained power.

Over 20 groups of the ethnic minorities were banned of their existence by the Khmer Rouge. (E.g. Ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese.) Over ten thousand Vietnamese were either raped, mutilated or murdered in regime-organised massacres

Reasons for killing...

No assess to information Do not trust others. (Intellectuals and the multi Lingual were threatening to Khmer Rouges regime, official posts were only given to Khmer Rouge family)

Pol Pot realised that there might be traitors in his party so it led to purges. (People whom might thwart his goals of creating a new society)

Impacts and Implications

3,300,000 people (including men, women,

children, and foreigners) were killed in this genocide.

Total control and there was no individual rights to freedom, which was a denial of basic human rights.
Till now, the effects of the Khmer Rouge's terror still linger in this nation and the current tribunal of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders is unlikely to deliver neither justice nor closure for Cambodians. After all, Pot Pol and many top leaders have already died peacefully in their sleeps.

Pol Pot

Drawings by Vann Nath, Survivor of Khmer Rouge concentration camp.


Purges/ Executions



Famine Diseases




Number Of Deaths / Millions

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35

How it ended?

Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea(Cambodia) in on 25 December 1978.

Khmer Rouge was then removed from power and Vietnam occupied Cambodia for a decade. Hun Sen took over as Prime Minister since Vietnamesebacked overthrow of the Khmer Rouge.

Video Time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zle9BeoudUs Cambodia Killing field part 3

How did others respond?

US dropped about half a million tons of bombs on Cambodia, killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city. Pol Pot died in year 1998 and the sole commander of the Khmer Rouge forces was detained in year 1999 for "crimes against humanity." Yet, only in 2006, the actual trial was scheduled. This is due to the insufficient funds UN have gathered from other countries.

Food for thought : How far is UN (United Nations) an effective body to resolve such humanity problems?

Food for thought: Is he the only one responsible for the tortures?

Duch, the 69-year-old former commander of the Khmer Rouges infamous S-21 prison in Phnom Penh:

I sincerely regret to giving in to others ideas and concepts and to accepting the criminal tasks I was asked to do. When I think about it, I am first angry at the steering committee of the party, who used all sorts of tricks to lead the country to a total and absolute tragedy. I am also angry at myself for agreeing on others conceptions and for blindly respecting their criminal orders.