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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 18:48 GMT
Tourism plans for Pol Pot's home
A Khmer Rouge soldier guards the body of Pol Pot , 16 April 1998
Pol Pot died at his northern hideout in 1998
Cambodia is planning to turn the remote jungle hideout of the Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, into a tourist attraction.

Tourism Minster Tourism Veng Sereyvuth said buildings belonging to Khmer Rouge members in Anlong Veng, about 320 km (200 miles) north of the capital Phnom Penh, would be converted into museums reflecting the country's history.

He said the surrounding area was one of great scenic beauty, and it was being developed to boost the tourist industry.

"First the government will develop the area for domestic tourists and the next step is to attract foreign tourists," said Veng Sereyvuth.

Torture

The Khmer Rouge's main execution grounds and a torture centre at Tuol Sleng have already been opened to the public.

Skulls from the Killings Fields
Nearly two million Cambodians died

Pol Pot died three years ago in Anlong Veng, after being in charge of one of the bloodiest regimes in recent history.

In power in the late 1970s, an estimated 1.7 million people were killed under Pol Pot's infamous "killing fields" regime.

Many precise details of Pol Pot's life remain shrouded in mystery.

He is thought to have been about 72 when he died, although the exact date of his birth is not clear.

Born Saloth Sar - Pol Pot was a nom de guerre - the fledgling tyrant grew up in a relatively prosperous farming family in Kompong Thong province, the heartland of the then French protectorate.

One of his brothers, Saloth Neap, once described Pol Pot as a gentle and kind child. He added he had no idea what his sibling had become until he saw a poster of "Brother Number One" - Pol Pot's title as leader of the Khmer Rouge - hung up at his work collective.

Tribunal

No one has yet stood trial for the mass killings.

Cambodia passed legislation in August to set up a genocide tribunal, but the details of the trials are still awaiting approval by the United Nations.

Four years ago, Cambodia asked the UN for help in establishing a special tribunal to judge the architects of genocide, but agreement on how it should be set up and run has been elusive.

The UN wanted a panel of international judges, sitting outside Cambodia to run the tribunal; the Cambodians wanted only local judges on the panel.

In the end, a compromise was reached.

Genocide trial

Under the agreement, trials will be held on Cambodian soil, but the UN is insisting that international standards of justice must be met.

Pol Pot, pictured in January 1998
Pol Pot oversaw one of the worst genocides last century

The special courts will be made up of three Cambodian and two foreign judges.

Some people believe the trials will be a whitewash, because many of the most notorious Khmer Rouge leaders have already been given amnesty under a deal in the 1990s to end the country's long-running civil war.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said a trial could begin by the end of this year and must take place by March to ensure that two jailed former Khmer Rouge leaders appear in court.

Former Khmer Rouge army chief Ta Mok, and Kang Kek Lue - the head of the S-21 torture and execution centre -- have been held without trial and must be released by March unless formally charged.

See also:

07 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Cambodia set for Khmer Rouge trials
07 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Cambodia faces up to its past
07 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge leader 'wants to testify'
02 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Cambodia backs genocide law
14 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Pol Pot: Life of a tyrant
02 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Masters of the killing fields
07 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Cambodia
13 Jan 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Cambodia: Life after death
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