• French Rule

    French Rule
    Cambodia becomes a protectorate of France
  • Independence

    Cambodia gains independence from France after 90 years of French rule. King Sihanouk becomes the ruler of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  • Beginnings of the Khmer Rouge

    Beginnings of the Khmer Rouge
    The Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) is formed out of the growing opposition to the rule of King Sihanouk. King Sihanouk nicknames the CPK “Red Khmer," or Khmer Rouge, as a sign he does not take the group seriously.
  • Armed Rebelion

    Armed Rebelion
    Leaders of the Khmer Rouge flee their home base of Phnom Penh and begin an armed rebellion.
  • Seizing Power

    Seizing Power
    After years of civil war, Khmer Rouge forces seize Phnom Penh and establish their regime. They drive city-dwellers into the countryside in an attempt to create an agrarian, communist utopia. Brutal persecution of intellectuals, religious figures and ethnic minorities begins. The Khmer Rouge bans family relationships and begins an aggressive campaign of brainwashing young children to worship the state and spy on their parents. If parents try to disguise themselves as uneducated peasants, children
  • S-21

    Four months after the Khmer Rouge establish their regime, a local high school in Phnom Penh is converted into what will become the notorious S-21 or Tuol Sleng prison and interrogation center run by the man known as Duch, later deemed “Cambodia’s Heinrich Himmler.” Between 1975 and 1979, roughly 17,000 people, labeled traitors, will be brought to the prison, tortured in order to extract “confessions” and systematically executed outside of the capital.
  • Four-Year Plan

    Four-Year Plan
    The Khmer Rouge establishes the State of Democratic Kampuchea. Khmer Rouge leaders write their first "Four-Year Plan," which calls for seizing all private property and establishes rice cultivation as a primary initiative. With little regard for families, as citizens are meant to have allegiance only to the state, citizens are assigned to work in groups. The goal is to achieve a yield of three tons of rice per hectare across the country. Most Cambodians are forced to work more than 12 hours a day
  • A Second Round of Purges

    A Second Round of Purges
    Pol Pot begins a second round of "purges" aimed at eliminating all communist dissidents and moderates. Early on, the violence targets specific groups, but by 1978 executions become more widespread and affect all of Cambodia's population. Cambodia starts to attack across its borders in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. There is speculation that Pol Pot wants to reclaim parts of Vietnam populated by the Khmer. Between 1977 and 1979, some 30,000 Vietnamese citizens are murdered.
  • The Face of Angka

    The Face of Angka
    For the first two years of Khmer Rouge rule, most Cambodians have no idea who is running the country. The Khmer Rouge leaders, collectively known to the people as Angka, believe that secrecy is the best way to control the population. Angka pulls back the curtain in September 1977, when Saloth Sar, known as “Pol Pot,” introduces himself in a national radio broadcast.
  • President Carter Makes a Declaration

    President Carter Makes a Declaration
    U.S. president Jimmy Carter declares the Khmer Rouge “the worst violator of human rights in the world.”
  • Fall of the Khmer Rouge

    Fall of the Khmer Rouge
    Vietnamese forces take Phnom Penh and the Khmer Rouge regime falls. Pol Pot continues to lead the Khmer Rouge as an insurgent movement until 1997. It is estimated that somewhere from 1.2 to 1.7 million people died because of starvation or execution while the Khmer Rouge was in power.
  • People's Republic of Kampuchea

    People's Republic of Kampuchea
    After the fall of Phnom Penh, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) is established with Vietnamese support. The Khmer Rouge’s campaign to create a classless society and the resulting executions of intellectuals, artists and other educated people make rebuilding difficult.
  • The Paris Conference

    Following the first Paris Conference on Cambodia, Vietnamese troops withdraw from the country and the Khmer Rouge attempts to regain power.
  • The Paris Peace Agreement

    The Paris Peace Agreement is signed by the four opposing factions vying for power in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge is forced to sign, but refuses to abide by its provisions.
  • Khmer Rouge Outlawed

    The Cambodian National Assembly votes to outlaw the Khmer Rouge
  • Coalition Government

    General elections result in the FUNCINPEC Party and the Cambodian People’s Party forming a coalition government.
  • Pol Pot Arrested

    Pol Pot Arrested
    Pol Pot is arrested by one of his colleagues after in-fighting within the Khmer Rouge. He is sentenced to house arrest.
  • Pol Pot Dies

    Pol Pot dies. Nuon Chea ("Brother Number Two") surrenders and is then allowed to live as a private citizen in Pailin province, Cambodia.
  • Ta Mok Arrested

    Ta Mok, the man who originally placed Pol Pot under house arrest, is himself arrested by Cambodian officials. He was notorious during the Khmer Rouge years, when he earned the nickname “the Butcher.”
  • UN Tribunal Recommendations

    The “Report of the Group of Experts for Cambodia Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 52/125” is published by a U.N. group charged with determining the feasibility of trying Khmer Rouge leaders. The report recommends the creation of an international tribunal and truth commission to charge and try Khmer Rouge leaders for their crimes
  • Duch of the S-21 Prison Arrested

    Duch of the S-21 Prison Arrested
    Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, prison chief at the notorious S-21 prison, where an estimated 17,000 people were questioned, tortured and killed, is charged with murder and membership in an outlawed group under the 1994 Cambodian law banning the Khmer Rouge
  • Approval of Tribunal Legislation

    The Cambodian Senate, National Assembly and Constitutional Council all approve the Khmer Rouge tribunal legislation and King Sihanouk signs it into law, despite some reservations on the part of the United Nations.
  • Ke Pauk Dies

    Ke Pauk Dies
    Former Khmer Rouge commander Ke Pauk dies.
  • Ta Mok Charged

    Ta Mok Charged
    Cambodian prosecutors charge former Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok with crimes against humanity.
  • Cambodia to Compromise with the United Nations

    Cambodia to Compromise with the United Nations
    Prime Minister Hun Sen announces that his government is ready to compromise with the United Nations on legislation governing the Khmer Rouge tribunals.
  • Resuming Talks

    Cambodia and the United Nations resume talks over the Khmer Rouge trials.
  • UN Agreement

    The U.N. and Cambodia agree to establish the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to try Khmer Rouge leaders.
  • Ta Mok Dies

    Ta Mok Dies
    Ta Mok dies without going to trial.
  • "Brother Number Two" Arrested

    Nuon Chea, known as “Brother Number Two,” is one of four Khmer Rouge leaders arrested and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Duch's First Court Appearance

    Duch's First Court Appearance
    Duch appears in court for the first time for a hearing about his bail plea.
  • Duch's Trial

    Duch's Trial
    Duch goes on trial.
  • Duch's Conviction

    Duch's Conviction
    Duch is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 35 years in jail.
  • "Brother Number Two" On Trial

    "Brother Number Two" On Trial
    The trial of "Brother Number Two," along with three other senior members of the Khmer Rouge is set to begin.