King Norodom Sihanouk lashed out Friday at the publishing of testimonies by former Khmer Rouge leaders in which they claim they are innocent of the atrocities committed during their 1975-79 Democratic Kampuchea regime.
Branding their crime “Satanic,” King Sihanouk claimed that by making public declarations of innocence, they do not need to ask to be pardoned for their crimes.
“After the abominable, super Satanic, unspeakable and innumerable crimes committed on the person of their own innocent People, the Polpotien Khmer Rouge are all declaring themselves ‘innocent,’ pure patriots, as ‘white as snow,’” the King wrote in a message posted on his Web site.
“‘Sin confessed is half pardoned.’ The Polpotien Khmer Rouge in this regard asserts that they have committed no crime, no fault. In consequence, they don’t have to ask for absolution,” he wrote.
Taking aim in particular at former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan’s recently published biography, the King said it has become an instant bestseller and was being devoured by a voracious audience.
“Khmer and foreigners as readers, ‘devour’ this ‘historical’ book with as much delight as Norodom Sihanouk eating, ‘foie gras of the three Emperors!’ at ‘La Tour d’Argent’ (a top restaurant in Paris),” the King wrote.
Released last Friday, Khieu Samphan’s book “The Recent History of Cambodia and My Successive Positions” outlines his involvement with the Khmer Rouge, who are held responsible for the deaths of more than one million Cambodians during their regime. He denies any part in the atrocities, claiming he only recently discovered that a policy of mass killing was conducted by the movement.
Genocide researchers have also blasted the former Khmer Rouge leaders’ claims of innocence as propaganda in preparation for the vainly-awaited UN-backed tribunal.
War crimes investigator Craig Etcheson has likened the situation to Germany’s fascist leaders retiring to Munich after World War II and publishing books asserting that no Jews were ever killed by the Nazis.