December 2010 Archives

This November, the Human Rights Program hosted the visit of Rob Lemkin, director and co-producer of the award-winning documentary, Enemies of the People, for the Minnesota premiere of the film. Enemies of the People follows Thet Sambath, a Cambodian journalist intent on uncovering the secrets of the Khmer Rouge regime whose policies resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. Among the dead were Sambath's parents and his brother.

To learn the highly protected secrets of the Khmer Rouge, Sambath had to earn the trust of Nuon Chea, the highest ranking Khmer Rouge still alive today. It took seven years before Nuon Chea opened up about the innermost decisions of the Khmer Rouge regime to Sambath. Ultimately, Nuon Chea admitted his involvement in decisions that led to systematic killings. Such orders were seen by the Khmer Rouge leaders as necessary to protect the Kampuchean state along the ideological lines that he and Pol Pot had envisioned. Chea, along with four other Khmer Rouge leaders are now awaiting trial at the international criminal tribunal in Cambodia, facing charges of crimes against humanity for the "Killing Fields."

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