Pattaya Daily News

22 July 2006 :: 14:07:19 pm 33063

Khmer Rouge Legendary ‘Ta Mok‘ Says Final Farewell

One of the main leaders of Cambodia‘s brutal Khmer Rouge regime, ‘Ta Mok,‘ has died in the capital Phnom Penh.
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    Ta Mok, otherwise known by the local Cambodians as “The Butcher”, was the regime‘s military commander and linked to many atrocities of the 1970s. As many as 1.7 million people died under the Khmer Rouge regime, through a combination of starvation, disease, torture and painful execution.

    Ta Mok, who left a brutal legacy, passed away this morning, confirmed military doctor Tuoth Nara. “He was an old man and died of natural causes, given his poor health and respiratory problems.” The Butcher, who was in his 80s, had been unwell since last month, suffering from high blood pressure and tuberculosis, and slipped into a coma last week.

    Of all the Khmer Rouge leaders, Ta Mok was regarded by many as the most brutal. He was responsible for playing a key role in a series of massacres and purges, which began even before the Khmer Rouge took power. Ta Mok was in charge of the forces which destroyed the former royal capital Oudong in 1974, expelling innocent civilians and killing officials and government soldiers.

    Later he instigated purges as the Khmer Rouge went to war with itself. He eventually became the overall leader of the organisation in 1997, but he was captured two years later and spent the rest of his life in jail. Ta Mok‘s death leaves a Khmer Rouge prison boss, Kaing Khek Iev, more commonly known as Duch, as the group‘s only surviving leader in detention.

    Ta Mok was due to be one of the first people tried for genocide and crimes against humanity at UN-backed hearings due to start next year. He was one of only two surviving Khmer Rouge commanders in detention, and with most of the remaining figures from the regime in poor health. Many analysts question whether the trials have been left too late to see justice served.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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