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Posts Tagged ‘Khmer’

New TV show features Khmer community

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm




New TV show features Khmer community


QĐND – Thursday, August 05, 2010, 20:47 (GMT+7)

A TV series on the culture and lifestyle of the ethnic Khmer people living in Vietnam’s southwest region will be filmed this week.


The 30-part work, titled Hay Cung Em Dieu Sarikakeo (Join Me in the Sarikakeo Dance), is being made by Vang Mien Nam (Southern Gold) Film Studio, a private film and entertainment company in HCM City.


Based on a screenplay by Nguyen Thi Hong Xuan, it is about the life and love of Sophia, a Khmer woman who lives in a small village in Soc Trang province in the early 1980s.


The film recounts Sophia’s time as a Sarikakeo dancer in her native village before she moved to An Giang province and learned weaving.


Sarikakeo is a traditional dance of the Khmer.


Truong Son Hai, the film’s director, said he and his producer chose Xuan’s screenplay because few films had focused on this topic.


“We wanted to spotlight the Khmer people and their culture, lifestyle and dance,” he said.


Hai said his crew would begin filming in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta province of Soc Trang and then in Tra Vinh and Ca Mau. Skilled dancers from local traditional art troupes like Anh Binh Minh will be in the film.


There are nearly 1.3 million Khmer people in the delta, mostly in Soc Trang and Tra Vinh.


The Khmer celebrate their New Year’s festival, the Chol Chnam Thmay, which is similar to Vietnamese Tet Lunar New Year, following the Khmer traditional calendar.


During the festival, dozens of professional artists from local art troupes travel around the three provinces of Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Ca Mau to perform special programmes featuring the culture and lifestyle of the Khmer.


Local people and visitors can participate in many cultural activities, such as music and singing programmes, traditional games and sports competitions launched by local authorities.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Khmer Rouge prison chief handed 30 years in prison

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2010 at 3:17 pm

PHNOM PENH, July 26, 2010 (AFP) – A UN-backed war crimes court on Monday sentenced a former Khmer Rouge prison chief to 30 years in prison for his role in Cambodia’s “Killing Fields” atrocities in the late 1970s.


Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, is the first Khmer Rouge cadre to be convicted in an international tribunal over the deaths of up to two million people through starvation, overwork and execution at the hands of the regime.

A handout picture released by the court on July 26, 2010 shows Duch sitting in the court room at the Extraodinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh July 26, 2010. AFP

The 67-year-old was initially given 35 years but the court reduced the jail sentence after ruling that he had been detained illegally for years before the UN-backed tribunal was established.


Duch apologised during his trial in Phnom Penh for overseeing the murders of around 15,000 men, women and children at Tuol Sleng prison, also known as S-21, but shocked the court in November by finally asking to be acquitted.


The maths teacher-turned-revolutionary was convicted of charges including crimes against humanity and war crimes.


“The role of the accused as the undisputed head of S-21 is confirmed by the accused’s own admission, the testimony of witnesses and civil parties,” head judge Nil Nonn said as he read out the verdict.


Tuol Sleng was the centre of the Khmer Rouge security apparatus and thousands of inmates were taken from there for execution in a nearby orchard that served as a “Killing Field”.


Crowds of Cambodians, including regime survivors and Buddhist monks, turned up at the specially built court on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, hoping to finally see justice for the Khmer Rouge’s crimes during its 1975-1979 rule.


Prosecutors had asked for a 40-year prison sentence from the tribunal, which did not have the power to impose the death penalty.


Duch, wearing a blue shirt, slumped in his chair as the tribual read out of the verdict in a courtroom shielded by a huge bullet-proof screen to prevent revenge attacks by Khmer Rouge victims.


He was transported to court in an armoured Land Cruiser with blacked-out windows from the nearby villa-style detention centre where he was being held with four other regime leaders, who face trial for genocide early next year.


Led by “Brother Number One” Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for one of the worst horrors of the 20th century, wiping out nearly a quarter of the population.


The Khmer Rouge was ousted by Vietnamese-backed forces in 1979, but continued to fight a civil war until 1998. Pol Pot died in the same year.


Duch has been detained since 1999, when he was found working as a Christian aid worker in the jungle, and was formally arrested by the tribunal in July 2007.


The court has faced controversy over allegations of interference by the government and claims that Cambodian staff paid kickbacks for their jobs.


The joint trial of four more senior Khmer Rouge leaders charged with genocide is expected to start in 2011.


The court is also investigating whether to open more cases against five other former Khmer Rouge cadres after a dispute between the international and Cambodian co-prosecutors over whether to pursue more suspects.

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Source: SGGP

Khmer Rouge prison chief awaits verdict

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

 A U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal was expected to issue a decision Monday in the trial of the Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer and torturer — the first verdict involving a leader of the genocidal regime that created Cambodia’s killing fields.


Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, ran Toul Sleng — the secret detention center reserved for “enemies” of the state. He admitted overseeing the deaths of up to 16,000 men, women and children who passed through its gates and asked for forgiveness during his 77-day trial.

A Cambodian man touches leg restraints displayed at the the former Khmer Rouge’s notorious S-21 prison now known as the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, July 22, 2010.

Though widely expected to be found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, many in this still-traumatized nation are anxiously awaiting the sentence. Anything short of the maximum life behind bars could trigger public outrage.


“All I want before I die is to see justice served,” said Bou Meng, 69, one of the few people sent to Toul Sleng who survived. “He admitted everything,” he said. “If he gets anything less than life, it will only add to my suffering.”


The U.N.-assisted tribunal represents the first serious attempt to hold Khmer Rouge leaders accountable for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians from starvation, medical neglect, slave-like working conditions and execution. The group’s top leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998.


Duch (pronounced DOIK) is the first of five surviving senior figures of the regime to go on trial. Unlike the four other defendants, Duch was not among the ruling clique. He insisted during the trial that he was only following orders from the top, and on the final day he asked to be acquitted and freed — angering many of the victims.


A former math teacher, Duch joined Pol Pot’s movement in 1967. Ten years later, he was the trusted head of its ultimate killing machine, S-21, which became the code name for Toul Sleng.


Only 14 prisoners are thought to have survived ordeals at the prison that included medieval-like tortures to extract “confessions” from supposed enemies of the regime, followed by executions and burials in mass graves outside Phnom Penh. The gruesome litany of torture included pulling out prisoners’ toenails, administering electric shocks, waterboarding — a form of simulated drowning — and medical experiments that ended in death.


Duch, who kept meticulous records, was often present during interrogations and signed off on all the executions. In one memo, a guard asked him what to do with six boys and three girls accused of being traitors.


“Kill every last one,” he wrote across the top.


After the Khmer Rouge were forced from power in 1979 after a bloody, four-year reign, Duch disappeared for almost two decades, living under various aliases in northwestern Cambodia, where he had converted to Christianity. His chance discovery by a British journalist led to his arrest in May 1999.


“This is a crime that, after 30 years, is now officially being recognized by a court of law, and that is what is most wanted by survivors,” said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which has collected evidence of the atrocities.


Though the tribunal has been credited with helping Cambodians speak out publicly for the first time about Khmer Rouge atrocities, it has faced criticism.


In an awkward legal compromise, the government insisted Cambodians be included on the panel of judges, raising concerns about political interference. Possibly fearing a widening circle of defendants could reach into its own ranks, the government sought to limit the number of those being tried.


The costs have also exceeded expectations.


Initially, the $78 million earmarked for the proceedings was used up in 2009, without issuing a single ruling, drawing criticism that the process was moving too slowly. The international community has agreed to pump in an addition $92 million for the next two years.


Norng Chan Phal doesn’t care about the cost — as long as Duch spends the rest of his life behind bars.


“This is the most important day of my life,” said the Khmer Rouge survivor, who was just 8 when his father and mother were taken to Toul Sleng and killed. He will be among hundreds of victims at the court Monday for the verdict.

“I’ve been living without my parents for 30 years. I want to see him get what he deserves.”

Source: SGGP

Khmer gathering for festival celebration

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm




Khmer gathering for festival celebration


QĐND – Thursday, April 08, 2010, 21:21 (GMT+7)

A meeting was held on April 8 for nearly 200 Khmers representing the families of war invalids and revolutionary martyrs, heroic mothers, workers, pensioners, and monks in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang.


The meeting to celebrate the Chol Chnam Thmey festival was attended by various senior officials from the Party Central Committee, the National Ethnic Committee, and local state and party agencies.


Since 2009, the province has provided capital to assist almost 26,000 Khmer households, and new houses for more than 6,600 households, said Lam Ren, Head of the provincial Ethnic Committee.


More than 5,000 households have received land to build houses and loans to do farming and animal husbandry. As a result, the rate of poor Khmer households has dropped from 34 percent in 2006 to below 18 percent in 2010, with more than 80 percent of the households having access to electricity, and 87 percent to clean water.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Gov’t leader extends wishes on Khmer new year festival

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm




Gov’t leader extends wishes on Khmer new year festival


QĐND – Friday, April 02, 2010, 22:8 (GMT+7)

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung, on behalf of the Government and the Southwestern Steering Board, has sent his best wishes to Khmer ethnic people on the occasion of their new year festival – Chol Chnam Thmay.


In his letter the Deputy PM praised the Khmer community’s achievements in economic development in 2009 despite the nation’s difficulties.


Over the past year, solidarity among ethnic groups and religions in the region was enhanced, actively contributing to local socio-economic development, he added.


At the same time, Deputy PM Hung expressed his concern on the lack of production land and poor conditions in areas of Khmer people. “In recent years, a large number of poor households escaped from poverty, but the number of relapse is also worrying,” he wrote, adding ministries, sectors and local authorities must work harder to assist the Khmer people.


“I believe that Khmer monks, Achas and all Khmer people will continue to build on your success, overcome difficulties and boost consolidation towards the goal of a prosperous and happy life to celebrate the country’s major anniversaries in 2010,” the Deputy PM wrote.

The Khmer traditional Chol Chnam Thmay lasts three days after the year’s first harvest. This year’s festival falls on April 14-16.


Each of these days has its own name. Apart from worshiping the Buddha, Khmer people believe that every year the heaven sends a god called Tevoda to the earth to look after human beings and their life.


At the end of the year, the god returns to heaven and another one will replace him. Therefore, in the New Year’s Eve, every family prepares a party, burns incense and lights up lamps in a ceremony to see off the old Tedova and greet the new one. They also pray to this god for good luck.


Khmer people always prepare for the new year ceremony very carefully. They clean and redecorate their house and buy necessary food for the holidays. They stop all farm work, relax and set free their cattle. The three official festival days are held in a joyful and exciting way.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Genocide charge for Khmer Rouge former head of state

In World on December 18, 2009 at 4:52 am








File photo taken July 3, 2009 shows former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan in the courtroom of the court in Phnom Penh (Photo: AFP)

PHNOM PENH, Dec 18, 2009 (AFP) – Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court Friday charged Khmer Rouge former head of state Khieu Samphan with genocide, a tribunal spokesman told AFP.


The 78-year-old former leader was charged over the regime’s slaughter of Vietnamese people and ethnic Cham muslims during the 1970s, said spokesman Lars Olsen.


“This morning Khieu Samphan has been brought before the court and informed that the charges against him have been extended to include genocide against the Chams and the Vietnamese,” Olsen said.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

UN-backed court issues first Khmer Rouge genocide charges

In World on December 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

PHNOM PENH, Dec 16, 2009 (AFP) – Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court has for the first time issued genocide charges against two leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, a tribunal spokesman said Wednesday.


Former Khmer Rouge number two Nuon Chea and foreign minister Ieng Sary were both charged over the hardline communist regime’s slaughter of Vietnamese people and ethnic Cham muslims during the 1970s, spokesman Lars Olsen told AFP.


“This week both Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary have been brought before the investigating judges and informed they are being charged with genocide against the Cham muslims and the Vietnamese,” Olsen said.


“This is the first time that anyone has been charged with genocide” at the UN-backed tribunal, he added.


The court announced last month it was investigating incursions into Vietnam as well as executions of Cambodia’s Cham minority committed by the 1975-1979 regime.


Final arguments were heard last month in the trial of prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, known by the alias Duch, who was charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and premeditated murder in the court’s first trial.


Both Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary have already been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.


They are in detention at the court, awaiting trial in the tribunal’s second case along with Ieng Sary’s wife, former social affairs minister Ieng Thirith and former head of state Khieu Samphan.


Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia’s cities in a bid to forge a communist utopia, wiping out up to two million people through starvation, overwork, torture and execution.


There are now nearly 240,000 Cham Muslims in Cambodia, mainly in the central provinces, forming 1.6 percent of the population in the predominantly Buddhist country, according to a recent survey by the US-based Pew Research Centre.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Khmer Rouge prison chief ‘should get 40 years’

In World on November 25, 2009 at 10:46 am

Prosecutors demanded a 40-year jail term Wednesday for Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch, as the former cadre made a final apology for his role in the deaths of 15,000 Cambodians at his torture centre.








This picture taken and released by the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), shows former Khmer Rouge chief of S-21, known as Tuol Sleng prison, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch (centre), standing in the courtroom at the Extraodinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. (AFP Photo)

The country’s UN-backed war crimes court heard closing arguments from both sides in its first trial delving into the horrors of the communist regime behind the “Killing Fields” atrocities three decades ago.


Under their leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly two million people through starvation, overwork and execution in their bid to turn Cambodia back to a rural “Year Zero” between 1975 and 1979.


Lawyers for the prosecution said expressions of remorse by Duch — whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav — did not amount to a full guilty plea for his time in charge of S-21, or Tuol Sleng, the movement’s main prison.


“We submit… that the sentence to be submitted by this trial chamber should be 40 years in prison,” prosecutor Bill Smith told judges.


“In imposing this penalty, you are not taking away the accused’s humanity but you are giving it back to the victims of S-21,” he said. “Let’s recall that unlike the prisoners at S-21 he is being met with open and evenhanded justice.”


Duch’s crimes on their own warranted the maximum life sentence that the tribunal could impose — but a previous period of unlawful detention should reduce that to a 45-year term, Smith said, explaining the prosecution’s demand.


The 67-year-old’s partial acceptance of responsibility and cooperation with prosecutors meant they had allowed a further reduction in their request to a sentence of 40 years, he said.


But he added that “no one should make the mistake that this case is equal to an unqualified guilty plea before an international tribunal.”


Duch, formerly a maths teacher, faces charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and premeditated murder. A verdict is not expected until early next year.


After the prosecution finished its arguments, bespectacled Duch began his concluding remarks, sitting in the dock and recounting how Khmer Rouge leaders ordered people to be “smashed” during the regime’s internal purges.


“To the survivors I stand by my acknowledgement to all crimes. As for the families of victims, my wish is that you kindly leave your door open for me to make my apologies,” Duch said.


“In order to express my most excruciating remorse I have fully and sincerely cooperated with the court whenever it is needed of me.”


The defence has sought to portray him as merely obeying orders to protect his life and those of his family — while the prosecution has said he was the “personification” of the Khmer Rouge’s “ruthless efficiency”.


The trial has heard how inmates at S-21 — a former high school — had toenails and fingernails pulled out and had the blood drained from their bodies in primitive medical experiments.


Inmates were forced to give false confessions of betraying the regime or working for foreign intelligence services. Only around a dozen of the 15,000 men, women and children taken there are known to have survived.


Most prisoners were taken to a so-called “Killing Field”, an orchard at Choeung Ek, near Phnom Penh, killed by a blow to the base of the neck with a steel club and then had their bellies sliced open.


The prison and the orchard now form a genocide museum.


The Khmer Rouge were toppled by Vietnamese troops and Vietnamese backed Combodian forces in 1979 but continued to fight a civil war for nearly two more decades. Pol Pot died in 1998.


For Cambodians the controversial tribunal, established in 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the United Nations, is the last chance to find justice for the Khmer Rouge’s crimes.


Duch has been detained since 1999, when he was found working as a Christian aid worker in the jungle, and was formally arrested by the tribunal in July 2007.


The joint trial of four other more senior Khmer Rouge leaders is expected to start in 2011.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Khmer Rouge jail chief accused of crocodile tears

In World on November 23, 2009 at 10:21 am








File photo of Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch (AFP photo)

PHNOM PENH, Nov 23, 2009 (AFP) – Lawyers for Khmer Rouge victims Monday accused the regime’s jailer of duping Cambodia’s war crimes court with “crocodile tears” as he faces final arguments over “Killing Fields” atrocities.


Former prison chief Kaing Guek Eav — better known as Duch — has apologised repeatedly for his role in the horrors of the hardline communist regime, which killed up to two million people three decades ago.


But civil lawyers representing 93 victims of the Tuol Sleng prison at the UN-backed court argued that Duch had failed to acknowledge the full extent of his guilt, as his trial entered its closing week.


Attorney Kong Pisey told judges that Duch had sought “to cleverly evade responsibility when it suits him” and wept “crocodile tears” in the dock.


“The cooperation with the court and his pretended truthful admissions is half-hearted,” Kong Pisey said, speaking through an official translator.


“However the accused’s defence strategy of denying any personal involvement of torture, killing and arrest is unsuccessful.”


Lawyers used part of the day’s hearings to recount how Tuol Sleng prisoners were beaten, electrocuted and then executed.


“Your honours must objectively, we say, review the evidence to determine whether or not what has been accepted by the accused amounts to full disclosure and the full truth,” lawyer Karim Khan told judges.


The prosecution is scheduled to begin presenting its arguments Tuesday.


Duch, who wore a white turtleneck sweater as he watched Monday’s proceedings from the dock, is expected to apologise again this week as his defence bids to lessen his sentence.


Since his trial began in February, Duch, 67, has repeatedly asked for forgiveness for overseeing the murders of around 15,000 men, women and children at the S-21 or Tuol Sleng prison, a former high school.


He is charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and premeditated murder, and faces a maximum term of life in prison by the tribunal, which does not have the power to impose the death penalty.


A verdict is expected early next year.


Hundreds of Cambodians attended the specially built courtroom on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on Monday to watch Duch, who sat behind a huge bullet-proof screen to prevent possible revenge attacks.


This week’s proceedings will be broadcast live by all Cambodian television stations, court officials said.


Tuol Sleng prison was at the heart of the Khmer Rouge security apparatus and inmates were taken from there during Duch’s tenure for execution at nearby Choeung Ek, an orchard now known as the “Killing Fields”.


Led by “Brother Number One” Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for one of the worst horrors of the 20th century, wiping out nearly a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork and execution.


Rising to power as a tragic spin-off from the US conflict in Vietnam, the movement emptied Cambodia’s cities to take society back to a rural “Year Zero”, purging city dwellers, intellectuals and even people who wore glasses.


The four-year Khmer Rouge reign of terror ended in 1979. Pol Pot died in 1998.


Duch has been detained since 1999, when he was found working as a Christian aid worker in the jungle, and was formally arrested by the tribunal in July 2007.


The court has faced controversy over allegations of interference by the government and claims that Cambodian staff paid bribes for their jobs.


The joint trial of four other more senior Khmer Rouge leaders is expected to start in 2011.


The court is also investigating whether to open more cases against five other former Khmer Rouge cadres after a dispute between the international and Cambodian co-prosecutors over whether to pursue more suspects.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Soc Trang: 200 billion VND for Khmer people

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Soc Trang (VNA) The Government distributed over 200 billion VND in 2008 to launch a social welfare project to help improve the living standards and production development of the Khmer people in the southern province of Soc Trang .

Le Van Can, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said that 20,662 poor Khmer households need assistance with housing, power and a safe water supply.

As of September 2008, the province has built 6,800 houses to be given to those in need and provided 34 billion VND for localities to build safe water supply stations.

Thanks to the assistance they have received, approximately 90 percent of Khmer houses now have access to a safe water supply.

The province also offered five-year, interest-free loans worth 50 million VND each to householders to assist them in the construction of houses and to help develop their businesses.-