Khmer Rouge: Thet Sambath

In Cambodia, a court is finally trying to bring justice for one of the most brutal and bloody efforts at social engineering the world has ever known. When the Khmer Rouge took power it emptied entire cities, forcing the people who lived there to become farmers and about 1 and 3/4 million people who either resisted or were seen to resist were murdered. A Cambodian journalist, Thet Sambath, who lost his parents and a brother in the Killing Fields befriended the man known as the Khmer Rouge's Brother Number Two and we hear his remarkable story.



Part Two of The Current

Khmer Rouge: Thet Sambath

Even among the twentieth century's roll call of state-led mass murder, Cambodia's torment under the Khmer Rouge stands out. Now, a long awaited United Nations-backed trial has started in the Cambodian capitol of Phnom Penh, where some of the most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime are facing justice. Under their rule, around 1 point 7 million Cambodians were killed between1975 and 1979, although it's hard to know exactly how many perished.

Many Cambodians are hoping this trial will finally answer how their country descended into genocide and political madness. It's a question that journalist Thet Sambath has been trying to answer for a decade now. His parents and brother died under the Khmer Rouge.

Brother Number 2, also known as Nuon Chea is the top Khmer Rouge leader now in the dock. Thet Sambath spent years becoming close to Nuon Chea... eventually filming remarkable confessions. His award-winning film Enemies of the People documents the search for answers. Rob Lemkin co-directed that film. He was in Oxford, England.

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Last Word - Thet Sambath

And as the once all powerful leadership of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge prepare to face justice, we thought we would give the last word today to journalist Thet Sambath whose parents and brother were among the approximately two million people who perished in Cambodia's killing fields in the 1970s.


Other segment from today's show:

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