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Skull Shrine Of Khmer Rouge Victims Will Stay, Says Cambodian PM February 26, 2007

Posted by naxalwatch in Uncategorized.
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The Khmer Rouge’s ultra-Maoist Democratic Kampuchea regime ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Up to 2 million people are thought to have died during this period due to Khmer Rouge misrule.


The shrine made of human skulls in a glass case at the Choeung Ek killing fields outside the capital will not be taken down despite requests for them to be cremated, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday, citing justice and tourism concerns.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of a new bridge close to the genocide memorial, Hun Sen said the skulls constituted important evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities and drew thousands of people to visit them in that context every year, and, therefore, would stay.

“People want to know how Pol Pot was cruel,” he said, in reference to the former Khmer Rouge leader, who died in 1998.

In the speech broadcast on national radio, Hun Sen quoted tourism figures showing 36,000 people had visited Wat Phnom, the birthplace of the capital, last year, but 144,300 had chosen to visit Choeung Ek to see the memorial.

“We didn’t want to bring people’s bodies to show but this is real evidence of genocidal crimes,” he said. “Someone asked us to burn them and let the souls of the dead go to another life, but if we lose it we cannot have a Khmer Rouge trial.”

Hun Sen said to cremate the skulls would be “sweet” for former Khmer Rouge leaders ahead of the scheduled trial, which is expected to get underway in earnest this year.

A number of groups have said the remains of former Khmer Rouge victims should be cremated in line with the Buddhist belief that without proper burial and religious rites the souls of those victims cannot be at peace or be reincarnated.

The Khmer Rouge’s ultra-Maoist Democratic Kampuchea regime ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Up to 2 million people are thought to have died during this period due to Khmer Rouge misrule.

© 2007 DPA

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