Surrender spells the end for Khmer Rouge

Click to follow
THE LAST remnants of Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge, which was responsible for the genocide of some 1.7 million people when it ruled the country from 1975 to 1979, have surrendered to the government, writes Stephen Vines.

After two decades of trying to regain power, the Khmer Rouge was reduced by splits and surrenders to a fighting force of some 500 men on the Thai- Cambodian border, with around 20,000 civilians in refugee camps under their control.

"It's the end of the Khmer Rouge," General Meas Sophea, Cambodia's deputy armed forces chief, said yesterday after four hours of talks with eight Khmer Rouge commanders, who agreed to desert the remaining figures in the movement's hierarchy.

Still at large are the Khmer Rouge's one-legged military chief, Ta Mok - known as "The Butcher" - the political head, Khieu Samphan, and the movement's senior ideologue, Nuon Chea. Last year they turned on the infamous Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. He was put on trial but died of a heart attack in April.

The surrender is another triumph for Cambodia's ruler, Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge commander.