At the interview (Photo: VNA)
In an interview with Vietnam News Agency, Chhang said many Cambodians fleeing the genocidal regime had told the world about the catastrophe, but no country was willing to interfere. He added that he had collected several documents proving that Amnesty International tried to negotiate with Khmer Rouge in 1976, but it came to failure. Therefore, genocide had to be ended by military force and the Vietnam People’s Army is the only one in the region that could deal with it.
He said had it not been for Vietnam’s help, Cambodia would have become a dictatorial country.
On the life sentence given to ex-leaders of Khmer Rouge Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphon, Chhang said it marks an end to Khmer Rouge regime from the legal aspect. The next task is ending the regime via education which he said is especially important for Cambodian people to look toward the future while not forgetting lessons of the past.
As regards Cambodia – Vietnam ties, he said both countries should build a special relationship on the back of long-standing historical connection and mutual support. In the future, bilateral ties will thrive as ASEAN member states grow closer in terms of science-technology and economy.
According to him, not only the two governments but also the two countries’ people need such relations and they need to understand each country’s history.
Chhang said he visited Vietnam in 1998 to learn about the country and Vietnam – Cambodia ties. He called attention to raising public awareness about Khmer Rouge issues.
Youk Chhang himself was a victim of the Khmer Rouge and survived by fleeing to a refugee camp along the Thailand-Cambodia border before settling in the US. Returning to Cambodia more than three decades ago, he wished his work would contribute to bringing justice to genocide victims and those who toppled the brutal regime.
Under the helm of Chhang, the centre has made important contributions to judging crimes of leaders of the genocidal regime in courts. He has also authored many articles and books about the regime and served as a senior researcher and lecturer in research centres and universities worldwide.
He was also named among top 60 and 100 influential people by Time magazine in 2006 and 2007, respectively./.