Report on Cambodian Genocide

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Modern World History Cambodian Genocide Report

Dead bodies are on the ground everywhere that you turn. The smell of filth and death choke your lungs as you wonder if tomorrow will be a better day. All your body feels is pain and emptiness. One might think this is how life was like for the Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, but in reality this is how life was like for many Cambodians who were forced to face the harsh ruling of Pol Pot between 1975 and 1979. Between this time period the Cambodian genocide took place and about two million people were executed, raped, and harassed. But prior to this, Cambodia was ruled under the French for about ninety years. During World War II, Cambodia was taken over by China and Prince Norodom Sihanouk was pronounced king in 1941. However, in 1953 Cambodia gained their independence from France, but unfortunately that was taken away when Prime Minister Lon Nol was overthrown by a communist group called the “Khmer Rouge”.

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Pol Pot, the head of the Cambodian communist party, was the creator of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge began killing some officials that ran the government before them. The citizens were forced out of cites and had to live an Agrarian lifestyle. The soldiers forced millions of citizens to work as slaves digging canals and tending crops. Religion, education and all forms of self-expression were not allowed. The soldiers separated families and required children to work in mobile labor units. People who tried to disobey their authority took the risk of getting tortured or death from a hit to the head.  Pol Pot dreamed of a “self sufficient” country. This meant that Cambodia would provide for themself and would have no aid in doing so. Because this what was Pol Pot wanted for Cambodia, banks and forms of currency were destroyed. Telephone and postal services were abolished and the media was censored. This was also what the Khmer Rouge referred to as the “transition”. The “transition” required the entire country to dress in all government issued black attire. The genocide caused massive starvation and malnutrition to increase due to the fact that the Khmer Rouge was exporting available food to China to repay past debts. Working long hours and being given small rations of food never changed during the genocide. Because of this, death, starvation and disease became very common.

The United States involvement in the Cambodian genocide remained the same as it was in the Rwandan genocide. They did nothing but send more than B-fifty-two bombing missions against Cambodia. Even though the United States did this, they still worried about other things that were going on at the time and they did not feel the need to sign the Genocide Convention because they did not feel obliged to contribute time, energy, or money to solving the conflict in Cambodia. The international response to this genocide was no different, but because the Khmer Rouge expelled all foreigners from Cambodia immediately after taking power, it was very impossible for the outside world to gain knowledge about the genocide. Still, most governments focused on their own issues while some people from certain networks tried to sneak Cambodians out of the country and to safety.

This terror eventually came to an end when Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew the Khmer Rouge on January 7, 1979. Utilizing guerilla tactics against the Vietnamese, the rest of the party flew west along the border of Thailand. For the next ten years, the Khmer Rouge fought the Vietnamese. During this time period, thousands of Cambodians and refugees were dying due to the lack of food and medical care. But in 1989, Vietnam officially withdrew their troops and a peace agreement was officially established between both opposing parties. Soon in 1997, Pol Pot was found and put under house arrest, but he eventually passed away in his sleep on April 15, 1998 at seventy two years old due to a heart failure. But in the most recent news, the two members of the Khmer Rouge still living were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.

Today, survivors are still traumatized by the events that took place during the Cambodian genocide. Survivors still mourn the death of their loved ones but they still speak out about their experiences. A survivor named, Chan Pay, was one of the woman that were sexually assaulted by Pol Pot. Chan converses about how Pol Pot forced her to marry him but she always refused. She describes about how Pol Pot would chain her up and rape her until she was unconscious day after day. She goes on to explain how he would place bullets into her private parts and insert his genital into her mouth until she regained consciousness. Pak Savorn, another survivor, even talks about how she witnessed her whole family die on the killing fields. She describes how she climbed out of a grave with her dead family on her. She continues to explain how she saw “worms coming out the noses, ears and mouths of dead people”. A man named, Kim So, another survivor of the Cambodian genocide discusses about how sad and depressed he feels talking about his past experiences. He describes about how the Cambodian genocide made him feel “hopeless because of [his] disability” and that he has “no value to live in this world”.

The Genocide Convention also known as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crime of Genocide, was an international tool that was used to assort genocide as a crime under international law. It was established by the General Assembly on December 9, 1948. Article II on the convention states the definition of genocide as any of the following: “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, like:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

So clearly, the Cambodian Genocide does meet the Genocide Convention criteria because the Khmer Rouge has harmed Cambodians. From Chan Pay’s testimony, they also have caused serious ”bodily harm” by inserting bullets into her private areas. Worst of all the even forced children to become soldiers at a young age causing them to murder people of their own. 

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Report On Cambodian Genocide. (2019, Aug 08). Retrieved December 6, 2022 , from
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