Since 1990 Cambodia has gradually recovered, demographically and
economically, from the Khmer Rouge regime, although the psychological scars
affect many Cambodian families and communities. Although the current
government teaches about Khmer Rouge atrocities in the schools, Cambodia has
a very young population and by 2005 three-quarters of Cambodians were too
young to remember the Khmer Rouge years. The younger generations would know
the Khmer Rouge only through word-of-mouth from parents and elders.
In 1997, Cambodia established a Khmer Rouge Trial Task Force to create a
legal structure to try the remaining leaders for war crimes and other crimes
against humanity, but progress was slow. The government said that due to the
poor economy and other financial commitments, it could only afford limited
funding for the magistrates. Several countries, including India and Japan,
came forward with extra funds, but by January, 2006, the full balance of
funding was not yet in place.
Nevertheless, the task force began its work and took over two buildings on
the grounds of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) High Command
headquarters in Kandal province just on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The
magistrates task force expects to spend the rest of 2006 training the judges
and other tribunal members before the actual trial is to take place. In
March 2006 the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan,
nominated seven judges for a trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders.
In May 2006 Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana announced that Cambodia's
highest judicial body approved 30 Cambodian and U.N. judges to preside over
the long-awaited genocide tribunal for surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. The
judges were sworn in early July, with trials expected to start mid-2007.