Khmerrouge trials

Democratic Kampuchea

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    Prince Norodom Sihanouk becomes king. Cambodia is occupied by Japan during World War II.

    The Japanese occupation ends.
  • Political Parties

    France re-imposes its protectorate. A new constitution permits Cambodians to form political parties. Communist guerrillas begin an armed campaign against the French.
  • Period: to


  • Independence

    King Norodom Sihanouk proclaims independence from France, but soon abdicates to go into politics.
  • Political Career

    Sihanouk abdicates to pursue a political career. His father becomes king and Sihanouk becomes prime minister.
  • Father Dies

    Sihanouk's father dies. Sihanouk becomes head of state.
  • Breaks off US Relations

    Sihanouk breaks off relations with the US and allows North Vietnamese guerrillas to set up bases in Cambodia in pursuance of their campaign against the US-backed government in South Vietnam.
  • Secret Campaign

    The US begins a secret bombing campaign against North Vietnamese forces on Cambodian soil.
  • Sihanouk is deposed

    Sihanouk is deposed in a coup while abroad. The prime minister, General Lon Nol, assumes power. He proclaims the Khmer Republic and sends the army to fight the North Vietnamese in Cambodia. Sihanouk - in exile in China - forms a guerrilla movement.
  • Cambodia Faces two major enemies

    Cambodian army faces two enemies: the North Vietnamese and communist Khmer Rouge guerriillas. Gradually, the army loses territory.
  • Lon Nol Overthrown - 'Year Zero'

    Lon Nol is overthrown as the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot occupy Phnom Penh. Sihanouk briefly becomes head of state, the country is re-named Kampuchea.
    All urban dwellers are forcibly evacuated to the countryside to become agricultural workers. Money becomes worthless, basic freedoms are curtailed and religion is banned. The Khmer Rouge coin the phrase "Year Zero".
    Hundreds of thousands of the educated middle-classes are tortured and executed in special centres. Others starve, or die from dise
  • Period: to

    Camodia The Beginning

  • Country is Re-named

    The country is re-named Democratic Kampuchea. Sihanouk resigns, Khieu Samphan becomes head of state, Pol Pot is prime minister.
  • Fighting re-commences

    Fighting breaks out with Vietnam.
  • Invasion

    Vietnamese forces invade in a lightning assault.
  • Republic of Kampuchia is established

    January - The Vietnamese take Phnom Penh. Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge forces flee to the border region with Thailand. The People's Republic of Kampuchea is established. Many elements of life before the Khmer Rouge take-over are re-established.
  • Vietnamese Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party wins the election

    The pro-Vietnamese Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party wins the elections to the National Assembly. The international community refuses to recognise the new government. The government-in-exile, which includes the Khmer Rouge and Sihanouk, retains its seat at the United Nations.
  • Hun Sen becomes prime minister

    Hun Sen becomes prime minister. Cambodia is plagued by guerrilla warfare. Hundreds of thousands become refugees.
  • Vietnamese troops withdraw

    Vietnamese troops withdraw. Hun Sen tries to attract foreign investment by abandoning socialism. The country is re-named the State of Cambodia. Buddhism is re-established as the state religion.
  • Peace agreement

    A peace agreement is signed in Paris. A UN transitional authority shares power temporarily with representatives of the various factions in Cambodia. Sihanouk becomes head of state.
  • Period: to

    An Uneasy Peace

  • Funcinpec party win

    General election sees the royalist Funcinpec party win the most seats followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP). A three-party coalition is formed with Funcinpec's Prince Norodom Ranariddh as prime minister and Hun Sen as deputy prime minister. The monarchy is restored, Sihanouk becomes king again. The country is re-named the Kingdom of Cambodia. The government-in-exile loses its seat at the UN.
  • guerrillas surrender

    Thousands of Khmer Rouge guerrillas surrender in government amnesty.
  • Amnesty

    Deputy leader of Khmer Rouge Ieng Sary forms a new party and is granted amnesty by Sihanouk.