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The BBC's Kelly McEvers
"One of the most bleak days in Cambodian history"
 real 28k

Sunday, 16 April, 2000, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
25 years since 'Year Zero'
Skulls
About 1.7 million died during the Khmer Rouge regime

By Kelly McEvers in Phnom Penh

Twenty-five years ago on Monday the Khmer Rouge regime seized Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh.

It was the beginning of four years of deaths by torture and starvation in what are now known as Cambodia's "Killing Fields".



The Khmer Rouge tried to create a model agarian collective, forcing people to work in killing fields
The government has no plan to commemorate 17 April, considered Cambodia's worst day in its history.

On that day the Khmer Rouge stormed the city in their tell-tale red scarves and said the Americans were planning to bomb Phnom Penh.

They evacuated the capital and many people never saw their homes again.

Recovery

The extreme communist movement eventually was responsible for more than a million deaths and two decades of civil war after their overthrow in 1979.
Skulls
Intellectuals and the best-educated were killed as "class enemies"

Only now is the country getting back on its feet and recovering from the atrocities of the past.

Lingering Khmer Rouge soldiers have put down their arms in recent years and Cambodia has slowly begun to grow its economy and rebuild the nation devastated by war.

Cambodians have just begun to talk about the atrocities.

Most Khmer Rouge leaders still live freely and average Cambodians have little trust in the government to bring them to trial.


Pol Pot
Former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot declared "year zero" when the regime took over
At a recent series of public forums, many Cambodians said they want Khmer Rouge leaders brought to justice, but many fear a trial could spark renewed civil war.

Some say the Khmer Rouge should at least apologise for what they have done.

Many, however, say they prefer the Buddhist principle of putting the past behind them for good.

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See also:

14 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Masters of the killing fields
22 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Deadlock in Khmer trial talks
25 Jul 98 | Cambodia
Pol Pot: Life of a tyrant
23 Mar 99 | Education
Learning about the killing fields
24 Jul 98 | Cambodia
Cambodia's troubled history
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