Saturday, April 30, 2011
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)The fate of Cambodia shocked the world when the radical communist Khmer Rouge under their leader Pol Pot seized power in 1975 after years of guerrilla warfare.
An estimated 1.7m Cambodians died during the next three years, many from exhaustion or starvation. Others were tortured and executed.
Today, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world and relies heavily on aid. Foreign donors have urged the Government to clamp down on pervasive corruption.
Cambodia is burdened with the legacy of decades of conflict; unexploded munitions -- thought to be in the millions -- continue to kill and maim civilians, despite an ongoing demining drive.
Only now is the country beginning to put the mechanism in place to bring those responsible for the "killing fields" to justice. Cambodia and the UN have agreed to set up a tribunal to try the surviving leaders of the genocide years.
Renewed clashes this week on the Thai-Cambodian border have spread to a second location, increasing the danger that the fighting might develop into a full-scale conflict.
At least 12 soldiers have been killed in clashes between troops stationed on the disputed border, making this their most violent confrontation in 20 years.