Villagers find and loot Cambodian killing field

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SRE LEAV, Cambodia -- Researchers are investigating a long unknown killing field in Cambodia with the graves of thousands of Khmer Rouge victims from the 1970s.

But local villagers found it first. By the time the researchers arrived last week, some 200 graves had been dug open and the bones scattered through the woods by hundreds of people hunting for jewelry...

It was the first such raid the researchers had recorded in the thousands of burial grounds they have documented around the country. Altogether 1.7 million people died under Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979 from starvation, overwork and disease as well as torture and execution...

The invasion of what has been almost sacred ground suggests that past traumas are beginning to fade even as Cambodia prepares to open a long-delayed trial of some Khmer Rouge leaders, said Youk Chhang, a leading expert on the period.

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