Around 3,000 people joined a Buddhist ritual in the “killing fields” outside Phnom Penh on Friday, as they marked the annual national Day of Hate.
Established in 1984, the holiday acts as a reminder of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. This year, some people at the ceremony, held by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said they were growing impatient with the UN-backed tribunal tasked with bringing former leaders of the regime to trial.
The court is expected to have an initial hearing for four jailed leaders at the end of June, with a full trial to start in August.
“I lost 15 family members,” 75-year-old Tim Ho said at Friday’s ceremony. “There was great suffering under the Khmer Rouge. I hoped they are sentenced to many years in prison, and I won’t be happy if they aren’t.”
Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said Friday that the sentencing would follow a trial in which all suspects are presumed innocent.
The upcoming trial, called Case 002, will try jailed leaders Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Iengh Thirith for atrocity crimes, including genocide.
“Case 002 is really an historic occasion, showing that Democratic Kampuchea made the wrong decisions,” a Phnom Penh resident said at the ceremony.