Khmer Rouge death camp ‘held killing competitions’

Updated 14 September 2015

Khmer Rouge death camp ‘held killing competitions’

PHNOM PENH: Guards at a Khmer Rouge cadres held competitions to see how many prisoners they could murder in an hour, a court heard Monday, the latest harrowing testimony at the trial of two top regime leaders.
“Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, 89, and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, 84, are on trial at a UN-backed court in Cambodia for the killing of ethnic Vietnamese and Muslim minorities, and for the regime’s use of forced marriage and rape.
The pair have already been jailed at a previous trial for their pivotal role in a regime responsible for the death of up to two million Cambodians from 1975-1979.
Their first trial focused on the forced evacuation of Cambodians from Phnom Penh into rural labor camps and murders at an execution site.
Throughout the Khmer Rouge’s brief but brutal time in power an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 Cham Muslims and 20,000 Vietnamese were murdered by the regime.
Before these charges were filed, the mistreatment of the two minority groups was rarely discussed.
Witness Sen Srun, called to testify about the sufferings of Cambodia’s Muslim minorities, told the court that thousands of people, including hundreds of Chams, were detained and murdered at Wat Au Trakuon, a pagoda which was turned into a detention center by the Khmer Rouge.
The witness estimated that up to 20,000 were killed at Wat Au Trakuon in the northeastern province of Kampong Cham.
Sen Srun added that Cham and Khmer women were often stripped naked and raped before they were killed. “It was widespread,” Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia which researches the Khmer Rouge atrocities, told AFP.
He said “brainwashed” Khmer Rouge cadres often killed for promotion.
Last week the court heard how Cham Muslims were forced to eat pork and banned from speaking their language while copies of the Qur'an were “collected from houses and burned” by Khmer Rouge cadres.


UK PM says schools must open in September

Updated 09 August 2020

UK PM says schools must open in September

  • A study has warned that Britain risks a second wave of COVID-19 this winter if schools open without an improved test-and-trace system
  • The government wants all pupils to return to school by early September

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said reopening schools in September was a social, economic and moral imperative and insisted they would be able to operate safely despite the ongoing threat from the pandemic.
His comments follow a study earlier this month which warned that Britain risks a second wave of COVID-19 this winter twice as large as the initial outbreak if schools open without an improved test-and-trace system.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Johnson said restarting schools was a national priority. Schools would be the last places to close in future local lockdowns, he was quoted by another newspaper as telling a meeting on Thursday.
Schools in England closed in March during a national lockdown, except for the children of key workers, and reopened in June for a small number of pupils.
The government wants all pupils to return to school by early September in what Johnson has called a “national priority.”
“Keeping our schools closed a moment longer than absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indefensible,” Johnson wrote.
The economic costs for parents who cannot work if schools are shut are spiralling, and the country faces big problems if children miss out on education, the prime minister warned.
“This pandemic isn’t over, and the last thing any of us can afford to do is become complacent. But now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so,” he wrote.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that he has ordered a public relations campaign to ensure schools open on time and told the meeting last week that they should be the last places to close behind restaurants, pubs and shops.