Around 600 people including Buddhist monks and nuns, high school students and ethnic Chams marched in Phnom Penh on Tuesday for peace and in support of the Khmer Rouge tribunal.
The march, organized by the Documentation Center of Cambodia and led by 12 monks, traversed the 7 km from the Phnom Penh International Airport along National Road 4 to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on the outskirts of the capital.
Buddhist nun Yin Kean from Kampot province said that she was marching for peace in Cambodia.
“During the Khmer Rouge regime, it was very difficult,” the 72-year-old said. “We don’t want any more war.”
On the unusually hot December day, Yim Kean was one of the 50 or so older marchers who had to be transported by ambulance some of the distance due to tiredness.
Nun Yeay Lort, 66, from Sihanoukville, said one reason for the march was to show that people are not looking for revenge against former Khmer Rouge leaders.
“There is no grudge, we want it to end,” Yeay Lort said, adding that seven of her relatives were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Farina So, an ethnic Cham and team leader of DC-Cam’s Muslim Oral History project, said Chams have chosen the Koran’s path in their attitude towards the former Khmer Rouge leaders.
“In the Koran it says if they kill one of us, we can kill one back, but it also states that we should forgive without rancor,” she said. “We march here to show we have chosen the second path, which is forgiveness,” she added.
ECCC spokesman Reach Sambath told reporters that the march to the tribunal offices was the biggest one yet.
Marchers were told that they could not see the suspects Tuesday but would have the opportunity to do so during the upcoming hearings.
Sat Rorm, 62, from Siem Reap province, said that regardless of what happened to the former Khmer Rouge leaders, they would still face punishment in the next life.
“A sin by any individual, that individual must receive,” she said.