A timeline of Cambodian history, focusing on the Khmer Rouge regime.
Created by pov on Jun 27, 2011
Last updated: 07/14/11 at 11:00 AM
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The trial of "Brother Number Two," along with three other senior members of the Khmer Rouge is set to begin.
Track the trial progress by following the news reporting on the Cambodia Tribunal Monitor and the Enemies of the People filmmaker blog.
Picture: Nuon Chea aka "Brother Number Two" / Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Duch is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 35 years in jail.
Picture: Duch/ Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Duch goes on trial.
Picture: Duch in court: Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Duch appears in court for the first time for a hearing about his bail plea.
Photo of Duch/ Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two,” is one of four Khmer Rouge leaders arrested and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Photo of "Brother Number Two" aka Nuon Chea / Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Ta Mok dies without going to trial.
Photo of Ta Mok's death/AFP
The United Nations approves the tribunal after years of debate.
The U.N. and Cambodia agree to establish the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to try Khmer Rouge leaders.
Photo of ECCC/ Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Cambodia and the United Nations resume talks over the Khmer Rouge trials.
Prime Minister Hun Sen announces that his government is ready to compromise with the United Nations on legislation governing the Khmer Rouge tribunals.
Photo of Prime Minister Hun Sen/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Cambodian prosecutors charge former Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok with crimes against humanity.
Former Khmer Rouge commander Ke Pauk dies.
Picture: Ke Pauk
The Cambodian Senate, National Assembly and Constitutional Council all approve the Khmer Rouge tribunal legislation and King Sihanouk signs it into law, despite some reservations on the part of the United Nations.
Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, prison chief at the notorious S-21 prison, where an estimated 17,000 people were questioned, tortured and killed, is charged with murder and membership in an outlawed group under the 1994 Cambodian law banning the Khmer Rouge.
Photo of Duch/ Photo of Duch/Flickr ECCC/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
The “Report of the Group of Experts for Cambodia Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 52/125” is published by a U.N. group charged with determining the feasibility of trying Khmer Rouge leaders. The report recommends the creation of an international tribunal and truth commission to charge and try Khmer Rouge leaders for their crimes
Ta Mok, the man who originally placed Pol Pot under house arrest, is himself arrested by Cambodian officials. He was notorious during the Khmer Rouge years, when he earned the nickname “the Butcher.”
Pol Pot dies. Nuon Chea ("Brother Number Two") surrenders and is then allowed to live as a private citizen in Pailin province, Cambodia.
Pol Pot is arrested by one of his colleagues after in-fighting within the Khmer Rouge. He is sentenced to house arrest.
Picture: Pol Pot
The Cambodian National Assembly votes to outlaw the Khmer Rouge.
General elections result in the FUNCINPEC Party and the Cambodian People’s Party forming a coalition government.
The Paris Peace Agreement is signed by the four opposing factions vying for power in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge is forced to sign, but refuses to abide by its provisions.
Following the first Paris Conference on Cambodia, Vietnamese troops withdraw from the country and the Khmer Rouge attempts to regain power.
After the fall of Phnom Penh, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) is established with Vietnamese support. The Khmer Rouge’s campaign to create a classless society and the resulting executions of intellectuals, artists and other educated people make rebuilding difficult.
Picture: Flag of People's Republic of Kampuchea/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Vietnamese forces take Phnom Penh and the Khmer Rouge regime falls. Pol Pot continues to lead the Khmer Rouge as an insurgent movement until 1997. It is estimated that somewhere from 1.2 to 1.7 million people died because of starvation or execution while the Khmer Rouge was in power.
Picture: Skulls on a map of Cambodia
U.S. president Jimmy Carter declares the Khmer Rouge “the worst violator of human rights in the world.”
Picture: Jimmy Carter in 1980
For the first two years of Khmer Rouge rule, most Cambodians have no idea who is running the country. The Khmer Rouge leaders, collectively known to the people as Angka, believe that secrecy is the best way to control the population. Angka pulls back the curtain in September 1977, when Saloth Sar, known as “Pol Pot,” introduces himself in a national radio broadcast.
Picture: Pol Pot
Pol Pot begins a second round of "purges" aimed at eliminating all communist dissidents and moderates. Early on, the violence targets specific groups, but by 1978 executions become more widespread and affect all of Cambodia's population. Cambodia starts to attack across its borders in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. There is speculation that Pol Pot wants to reclaim parts of Vietnam populated by the Khmer. Between 1977 and 1979, some 30,000 Vietnamese citizens are murdered.
Picture: Skulls in Camboda
The Khmer Rouge establishes the State of Democratic Kampuchea. Khmer Rouge leaders write their first "Four-Year Plan," which calls for seizing all private property and establishes rice cultivation as a primary initiative. With little regard for families, as citizens are meant to have allegiance only to the state, citizens are assigned to work in groups. The goal is to achieve a yield of three tons of rice per hectare across the country. Most Cambodians are forced to work more than 12 hours a day in inhumane conditions in order to achieve this. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians starve to death in the rice fields. Picture: Democratic Kampuchea's Coat of Arms/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Four months after the Khmer Rouge establish their regime, a local high school in Phnom Penh is converted into what will become the notorious S-21 or Tuol Sleng prison and interrogation center run by the man known as Duch, later deemed “Cambodia’s Heinrich Himmler.” Between 1975 and 1979, roughly 17,000 people, labeled traitors, will be brought to the prison, tortured in order to extract “confessions” and systematically executed outside of the capital.
Picture: The list of rules at S-21 Prison
After years of civil war, Khmer Rouge forces seize Phnom Penh and establish their regime. They drive city-dwellers into the countryside in an attempt to create an agrarian, communist utopia. Brutal persecution of intellectuals, religious figures and ethnic minorities begins. The Khmer Rouge bans family relationships and begins an aggressive campaign of brainwashing young children to worship the state and spy on their parents. If parents try to disguise themselves as uneducated peasants, children are instructed to report them as enemies of the state.
Picture: Phnom Penh
Leaders of the Khmer Rouge flee their home base of Phnom Penh and begin an armed rebellion.
The Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) is formed out of the growing opposition to the rule of King Sihanouk. King Sihanouk nicknames the CPK “Red Khmer," or Khmer Rouge, as a sign he does not take the group seriously.
Picture: Flag of Khmer Rouge
Cambodia gains independence from France after 90 years of French rule. King Sihanouk becomes the ruler of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Picture: King Sihanouk © Bettmann/CORBIS
Cambodia becomes a protectorate of France
Flag of the French Protectorate of Cambodia