Dark memories of Cambodia's killing spree

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Exactly 30 years ago, a coalition of Cambodian and Vietnamese troops forced Pol Pot and his followers from power - after a four-year reign which left as many as two million people dead.

There was no hero's welcome for the conquering troops. But nor was there a nervous population, fearful about the intentions of the incoming army. Because Phnom Penh was almost completely deserted.

As many as two million Cambodians are thought to have died because of the policies of Pol Pot's government and the actions of Khmer Rouge members.

The current government says the end of that era is a cause for celebration. Prime Minister Hun Sen was among the Cambodian troops who joined Vietnamese forces to oust the Khmer Rouge.

Most Cambodians are too young to remember the Pol Pot era, or even the years of civil war which followed. But the anniversary should be followed, within months, by another reminder of what happened. The first trial at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal may start as early as March.

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