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32/ Cambodia Genocide Program Progress report


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Resent-Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 23:19:38 -0700 Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 23:19:25

Cambodian Genocide Program

First Progress Report

September 15, 1995

Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Council of Southeast Asia Studies, Yale Law School, Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights , Yale University

Executive Summary

The Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) has made rapid progress in=7F assembling the documentation, legal expertise and historical evidence necessary to prosecute the crimes of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. This is consistent with the CGP mandate to help implement "the policy of the United States to support efforts to bring to justice members of the Khmer Rouge for their crimes against humanity committed in Cambodia between April 17, 1975 and=7F January 7, 1979." [PL 103-236, Sec. 572]. Nearing the halfway mark of its two year mandate, the program has the following major achievements to its credit:

1. Identifying Legal Options for Redress

Until now, the international impetus has not existed to motivate the Cambodians to organize an effective process to seek legal remedies for the Pol Pot regime's crimes. The Royal Cambodian Government is now considering several options for legal redress of the genocide, based on the findings of an international conference hosted by the Cambodian Genocide Program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State. This conference, chaired by CGP Director Ben Kiernan, of Yale University, was held in Phnom Penh on 21 and 22 August 1995. It was addressed by two international legal scholars commissioned by the Department of State to review the legal possibilities for cases involving criminal violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal human rights law in Cambodia. Cambodia's two Co-Prime Ministers also addressed the conference; both praised Yale University and its CGP. The conference was attended by nearly 100 others, including six Members of the National Assembly, senior officials from the Council of Ministers and various ministries such as Justice and Interior, and legal officers.

2. Documenting the Cambodian Genocide

Until now, no detailed picture has existed of specific atrocities, victims and perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide. The Cambodian Genocide Program has made major strides in assembling the documentation necessary to prosecute the authors of the Cambodian genocide. A series of databases, now in formation, will be made accessible through the Internet by 1997: a) computerized maps of Khmer Rouge prisons and victim grave sites across Cambodia; b) a biographic database on the Cambodian elite, many of whom comprised victims of the Khmer Rouge; c) a second biographic database on the Khmer Rouge political and military leadership, including many alleged perpetrators of criminal acts; d) an electronic database of photographs, including rare images taken during Pol Pot's 1975-79 Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime and 4,000 photographs taken by the Khmer Rouge of their victims before execution; e) an imaging database of thousands of rare documents from the Pol Pot period, many of which are being made publicly available for the first time; and f) a bibliographic database of literature and documents in various languages on the Pol Pot regime. Yale's CGP is uniquely qualified to carry out this work because of Yale's singular combination of Cambodia area and archive studies, genocide research, legal resources, information systems, and geographical expertise necessary to effectively execute this complex research undertaking.

3. Recreating Lost Histories

Until now, no detailed history of events in each region and zone of the Khmer Rouge regime had been contemplated. The Cambodian Genocide Program has nine new histories already underway, comprising detailed and original research on the fates of various regions and population groups into which Pol Pot's regime divided Cambodia. In the process, Cambodian scholars are being trained in both social science methods and computer documentation. In addition to these nine separate studies in preparation, others are in the planning stage. The first volume of these studies is to be published in 1997.

4. Training Cambodian Lawyers

Until now, the legal expertise did not exist in Cambodia to support a trial of Khmer Rouge leaders utilizing due process guarantees and unimpeachable evidentiary standards. The Cambodian Genocide Program has just graduated the first class of seventeen Cambodian legal professionals, government officials, and human rights workers from CGP's nine-week intensive summer school on international criminal law and international human rights law. The school was held in Phnom Penh from June to August 1995, with the participation of the Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights at the Yale Law School. A second summer school will be held in Cambodia in mid-1996. The individuals trained in the CGP program will be able to staff a domestic or international tribunal.

5. Creating a Permanent Cambodian Documentation Center

Until now, no "center of gravity" existed in Cambodia to provide a spark for the serious study of what happened to Cambodian society during the Khmer Rouge regime. The Cambodian Genocide Program has established an international non-governmental organization in Phnom Penh, known as the Documentation Center of Cambodia. The Documentation Center is facilitating the field operations of the CGP, training Cambodians in research and investigative techniques, and will enable an indigenous organization to continue the work of the program after the conclusion of the CGP mandate in January 1997.
[Insert "CGP Organization Chart" Graphic]

[Insert "Khmer Rouge Family Portrait" Photo]
Photo courtesy of Mark Dodd
[Compiler's note: This photograph does not belong to Mark Dodd nor to anyone in particular. It was retrieved by government troops when they launched their ill-fated offensive on Ta Mok's headquarters in late 1993.]

This 1986 picture, probably taken in Trat, Thailand, is believed to be the most recent known photograph of Pol Pot. (left to right:) Son Sen, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Pol Pot, Yun Yat, unidentified woman, unidentified woman, Mrs. Pech Chheang; the female child is believed to be Pol Pot's daughter, the male child the son of Pech Chheang, deputy chief of staff of the khmer rouge army. The first five are members of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and are among CGP's prime suspects.


In Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, the world witnessed one of the worst cases of genocide and crimes against humanity ever perpetrated. While those responsible for the Nazi Holocaust in the first half of the 20th century were punished, and those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda are being brought to justice, there has been little effort to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice for the atrocities they committed. In 1994, the U.S. Congress sought to address this problem by enacting the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act. A team of world-class Cambodia scholars based at Yale was chosen to receive funding from the U.S. Department of State, and subsequently, by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. That team has now, in three quarters of a year, made tremendous progress in remedying this omission of justice and accountability. Four major problems face any effort to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice:
1) a paucity of specific documentary evidence linking high-level policymakers and military personnel to acts of genocide and crimes against humanity;
2) insufficient training of Cambodian officials and lawyers with the political will and legal skills to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice;
3) insufficient awareness among Cambodian policymakers of the options available for legal redress of genocide and crimes against humanity; and
4) the lack of a permanent, indigenous Cambodian NGO tasked to carry out independent research and documentation on the Cambodian genocide.

Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program is making excellent progress toward solution of these four problems. That progress is described in this First Interim Progress Report of the Cambodian Genocide Program.

Identifying Legal Options for Redress

Until now, no conference of Cambodian and international observers has examined specific legal options for redress of Cambodia's genocide. On August 21 and 22, 1995, the Cambodian Genocide Program hosted an international conference under the banner, "Striving for Justice: International Criminal Law in the Cambodian Context." The Striving for Justice Conference brought together a wide range of interested observers and decisionmakers for discussions with two international criminal law experts. Under a contract with the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Jason Abrams of the Open Society Institute and Professor Steven Ratner of the University of Texas are now completing a study of options for legal redress of criminal human rights violations during the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime between April 17, 1975 and January 7, 1979. When it is completed, the study will offer an analysis of the most probable cases of violations of criminal human rights laws under the DK regime, and the most likely avenues for redress. Abrams and Ratner have tentatively concluded that the Khmer Rouge are culpable on several counts of violating international criminal laws concerning genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. They further have concluded that there are several possible avenues for legal redress of these criminal violations, including an ad hoc international tribunal, a domestic Cambodian tribunal, and/or some form of an international commission of inquiry.

At the Striving for Justice Conference, Abrams and Ratner presented their draft conclusions to an invitation-only audience of nearly 100 distinguished guests. The audience consisted of representatives from the Offices of the Co-Prime Ministers, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, several key ministries including Interior and Justice, numerous Cambodian and international human rights organizations, members of the Cambodian National Assembly, a representative of the United Nations Secretary General, a member of the US Congress, and others. The conference was also addressed by the First Prime Minister, His Royal Highness Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, and the Second Prime Minister, His Excellency Samdech Hun Sen. The conference offered extensive opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas among the participants. Conference participants reached a clear consensus on the need for accountability, and outlined important specific next steps to be taken to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to justice.

[Insert "Conference Podium Shot" Photo]
Photo courtesy of Cambodia Today

CGP's Striving for Justice Conference was the first opportunity
ever for Cambodian officials to debate the best methods for achieving legal redress of genocide and crimes against humanity.
At the Conference, the Royal Cambodian Government declared its
intention to prosecute the Khmer Rouge. (left to right:) international criminal law experts Mr. Jason Abrams and Professor
Steven Ratner, First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh, and CGP
Director Ben Kiernan.

Documentation Databases

The Cambodian Genocide Program is assembling an elaborate family of databases collectively known as the Cambodian Genocide Data Base (CGDB). Using the Computerized Documentation System (CDS/ISIS) designed by UNESCO and modified to suit CGP's particular needs by our programmers, CGP is making rapid progress in the compilation of all known primary and secondary material relating to the Khmer Rouge regime. The Program has already obtained access to several little-known caches of documents, including a DK Foreign Ministry archive, archives of the DK Trade Ministry, the only known surviving archive from a DK regional prison, original maps of Khmer Rouge killing fields, and several collections of rare photographs taken by the DK regime itself.

Another collection made available to the CGP includes a set of internal minutes of key meetings of the DK "Party Center" held in 1975 and 1976. CGP currently has two missions at work in Vietnam, in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City, searching for relevant documentation in state and private archives.

These databases will bridge a huge gap in the case against the Khmer Rouge. Because these databases did not previously exist, policymakers could not precisely identify victims and perpetrators, nor could they establish empirical links between the two on a national scale. Yale's CGDB resolves this problem. When the databases are complete, an investigator using them could, for example, identify individual victims and perpetrators of a particular atrocity, perhaps with photographs and biographies of the individuals in question. Yale's CGP is uniquely qualified to carry out this work because of Yale's singular combination of Cambodia area and archival studies, genocide research, legal resources, information systems, and geographical expertise necessary to effectively execute this complex research undertaking.

The Bibliographic Database

The bibliographic database will contain records on this new material and on all other known primary and secondary sources of information pertaining to the Khmer Rouge regime, including books, articles, monographs, documents, reports, interviews, tapes, films and videos, transcripts, and so forth. As noted, CGP research efforts have already led to a dramatic increase in existing documentary evidence through discovery of previously unknown archival sources. Rapid progress has been made with the design and establishment of this database. The initial program timelines projected the creation of some three hundred records in a bibliographic database by the end of December 1995. That milestone was achieved in February 1995. As of August 1995, approximately 1000 records representing some 50,000 pages of documentation had been entered into the bibliographical database.

The Victim Database

The Cambodian Genocide Program has made arrangements to obtain and make electronically accessible to an international audience Dr. Justin Corfield's biographical database containing more than 40,000 entries on the Cambodian elite. We express our thanks to Dr. Corfield. We have plans to expand this database with additional information obtained as a result of our original research. Given the patterns of violence in Democratic Kampuchea, it is likely that a large number of the individuals listed in this database became victims of the Khmer Rouge. Thus this database may become useful for identifying and cross-referencing victims of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The Photographic Database

The Cambodian Genocide Program is preparing to scan several large collections of photographs into the CGDB. These collections contain a significant number of items which are likely to have a high degree of evidentiary value for the prosecution. Examples include a large number of photos of DK leaders, of forced labor brigades, and the entire collection of prisoner photographs from the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Most of the 4,000 prisoner mugshots are currently not accompanied by any identification of the prisoners. By making these photographs available on the internet, and adding to the database a special field for readers to key in suggested names for each photograph, we hope to obtain identities for many of the victims of the Khmer Rouge. The names could be used to prosecute perpetrators on charges of killing specific persons.

The Khmer Rouge Biographical Database

The Cambodian Genocide Program is assembling a second biographical database containing data on members of the Khmer Rouge organization between 1975 and 1979. This database will include both political and military leadership, down to the srok (district) level. Thus this database will be useful for identifying the chain of command in various regions at various times, and in establishing command responsibility for particular atrocities.

The Imaging Database

The Cambodian Genocide Program is in the process of scanning images of original DK documents into the database. We have already accomplished the scanning of several hundred relevant documents, including a near-complete set of the records in Khmer from the 1979 in absentia genocide tribunal of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary. Using custom software already designed specifically for CGP, CGDB users will be able to browse through the bibliographic database and, upon finding a record of particular interest, "jump" to a full digital image of that specific document with the "click" of a mouse. This capability can considerably expedite the search for incriminating evidence of genocidal intent.

[Insert "Craig Amid the Skulls" Photo]
Photo courtesy of Michael Hayes

CGP Program Manager Dr. Craig Etcheson examines a collection of human remains at Sala Damnak in Kandal Province. This site has
been logged as a point of interest in CGP's mapping project,
which with
funding from the Australian government will precisely map known
Khmer Rouge prison and "killing field" locations in Cambodia.

The Geographic Database

The Cambodian Genocide Program is also in the process of constructing an elaborate computer-based map showing the physical locations of facilities of the Khmer Rouge "internal security" apparatus, including prison and "killing field" sites. The Cambodian Mine Action Center established by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia has designed standardized software for mapping work in Cambodia, and CGP has obtained access to this system for our purposes. Utilizing the Global Positioning System to pinpoint the precise coordinates of locations identified by our researchers, CGP will accurately map the Khmer Rouge terror system and the resting places of its victims. The resulting display is likely to constitute an incriminating indictment of the scope of Khmer Rouge terror, providing strong evidence of widespread crimes against humanity.

Disseminating the Databases

In addition to publishing analytical indexes of the databases, user access to the computer databases themselves will be enabled in several ways. First, physical copies of the database will be deposited at several locations in the United States and Cambodia. Second, we hope to make the entire database available on CD-ROM. Finally, through the Internet, the database will be made accessible to all interested parties worldwide. The projected implementation date for the online genocide database is early 1997.

Collecting and compiling data on Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge will be one of the most significant contributions of the CGP, for both historical and legal reasons. Organizing this mass of new information into a structured whole will enable citizens to fully comprehend the nightmare of what happened in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. It will allow historians to compile a more compelling and accurate picture of the past. It will allow policymakers to fashion a case for the necessity of accountability for the Cambodian genocide. And it will provide prosecutors with critical information on crimes committed by specific individuals.


Cambodian Genocide Program Director Ben Kiernan's new book, The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979, will soon be available from Yale University Press. A comprehensive survey of the Cambodian genocide, it provides a baseline of existing information from which more specific research can be initiated. The CGP has already begun implementing a wide range of new social science research on the Cambodian genocide.

For instance, six professional Cambodian researchers and an American have been at work for several months on new histories of the seven geographic zones and regions of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime: the Southwest Zone, the Western Zone, the Northwest Zone, the Siemreap-Oddar Meanchey Region, the Northern Zone, the Northeast Zone (including Kratie) and the Eastern Zone. One of these 70-page monographs is already well on the way to completion, and the others are expected to be completed in 1996, for publication in 1997.

The Cambodian Genocide Program has also commissioned several additional studies, including one of the DK "Party Center" (whose members included Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Thirith, Yun Yat, Mok, Ke Pauk and Vorn Vet). This monograph will examine the Khmer Rouge chain of command and the degree of central authority over events in the zones and regions. This study will commence in September 1995, and is expected to be completed in 1996. The CGP has commissioned a further study of the genocide against the Cham Muslim minority under the Pol Pot regime, and work on this monograph will also commence in September 1995. In addition, the CGP plans new monographs on the Buddhist monkhood, on women, and on the Vietnamese, Chinese and tribal minorities, focussing on the fate of these population cohorts under the Pol Pot regime. We expect at least one and possibly two collected volumes of these monographs to be published in 1997 and 1998.

These studies will be of crucial importance in synthesizing the general and the particular in Cambodia's genocide. Few detailed studies exist of particular regions under the Khmer Rouge, and so up to now it has been impossible to assemble a complete picture of what happened on a national scale. By breaking down the research task into particular regions, and simultaneously selecting several integrating themes such as the Party Center, Cham Muslims, Buddhists and women, the CGP studies=7F will reconstruct the nexus between the local situation and national policy. This will provide crucial analytical evidence of the extent of national control by the Khmer Rouge, and the impact of this control on all the people of Cambodia.

Legal Training Project

On August 18, 1995, the Cambodian Genocide Program produced its first graduates in international criminal law and international human rights law. Seventeen Cambodian legal professionals successfully completed the nine-week training program, including officials from the Ministries of Justice and Interior, the Council of Ministers, and three Cambodian non-governmental human rights organizations. The training covered principles of international criminal law pertaining to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; the structure of national and international legal enforcement mechanisms, including national courts, ad hoc international tribunals, the International Court of Justice, and truth commissions; and the requirements of due process and evidentiary standards.

The Cambodian Genocide Program will build on this foundation next year to further enhance the capacity of the Cambodian legal system to cope with the anticipated political decision to move forward with legal redress for crimes committed during the Pol Pot regime. After consulting with the Royal Cambodian Government and other interested observers as to the preferred fora for seeking redress, the CGP will fashion a second training project designed to inculcate the skills necessary to implement those means of redress selected by the appropriate political authorities.

[Insert "Legal Training Graduation" Photo]
Photo courtesy of Martin Feldman

Joined by their trainers and translators, graduates of CGP's 1995 Legal Training Project display their certificates of completion. Many of these lawyers, judges, police officers and human rights
workers will form the nucleus of prosecution and defense teams
when a criminal tribunal is convened.

Several additional varieties of training under CGP auspices are in progress. Training of Khmer researchers in Cambodia on social science methods, historiography and database management has been proceeding since June 1995 on a weekly basis. Two Cambodian scholars are currently enrolled for MA's at Yale, in History and International Relations. Training of Khmer staff and researchers in Cambodia on all aspects of operating the Documentation Center of Cambodia is also occurring on a weekly basis.

Until now, no one in Cambodia had the range of legal skills required to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice in fair and procedurally sound trials. The CGP's training programs have directly addressed this shortcoming. This is consistent with the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act, which states that it is "the policy of the United States to support efforts to bring to justice members of the Khmer Rouge for their crimes against humanity committed in Cambodia between April 17, 1975 and January 7, 1979." [PL 103-236, Sec. 572].

The Documentation Center of Cambodia

The Documentation Center of Cambodia ("DC-Cam") is a non-profit international non-governmental organization (NGO) established in January 1995 by the CGP to facilitate training and field research in Cambodia related to the CGP's mission. With offices in Phnom Penh, the DC-Cam serves as a base of operations for the documentation, research and training activities carried out under the auspices of the CGP. The staff of DC-Cam is entirely Cambodian in composition, and weekly staff development training is already in progress to prepare indigenous personnel to assume full responsibility for all aspects of operations in 1997.

In January 1997, at the conclusion of the CGP's mandate, DC-Cam will be transformed into a Cambodian NGO to serve as a permanent institute for the study of topics related to the Khmer Rouge regime, and as a resource for Cambodians and others who may wish to pursue legal redress for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated under that regime. The documentation and research products of the CGP will be deposited with the Documentation Center of Cambodia for access by the Cambodian people.

[For those who have access to the internet, DC-Cam has a World Wide Web HomePage containing more information about that organization, located at The Documentation Center email address is [email protected]]

[Insert "Siem Reap Killing Field Map"]
Drawing courtesy of Cambodian Royal Government Ministry of the Interior

The hundreds of mass graves strewn across Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge have never before been systematically catalogued, so their precise number and locations are not yet known. Using the Global Positioning System and specialized mapping software developed by
the United Nations, CGP will gather data on mass graves and prison sites from villagers, government officials and other sources to create a comprehensive map. The map above, of mass graves and execution sites in Siem Reap Province, was made by
Cambodian officials 15 years ago.

Research Collaboration

The Cambodian Genocide Program has won strong support from the worldwide Cambodia studies community (see "Scholars Speak out on Cambodia Holocaust," letter to the Wall Street Journal, signed by 29 Cambodia scholars and specialists, 13 July 1995). These scholars represent virtually the entire field of Cambodian studies. Leading Cambodian scholars David P. Chandler, Milton E. Osborne, and Michael Vickery have already provided help in various ways. Others who have responded positively to requests for information on their personal archival holdings include Justin Corfield, Mark Dodd, Stephen Heder, Henri Locard, and Judy Ledgerwood. Additional Cambodia scholars like David Ashley and Jason Roberts have generously offered to work with the CGP on a volunteer basis.

An Australian professional working with the CGP has also initiated a project to begin the computer mapping of Khmer Rouge prison and mass grave sites. This project has now been funded by the Australian government at the level of A$24,300. Additional funding is being sought. This is the first time anyone has attempted to construct a comprehensive inventory of the terror apparatus used by the Khmer Rouge regime to murder up to two million people.

In June, July, and August 1995, CGP Director Ben Kiernan presented the Program's work-in-progress at the U.S. Forum on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (in New York), at Monash University and the University of New South Wales (in Australia), and at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Phnom Penh. These occasions all produced new collaboration from foreign scholars and specialists, ranging from an offer of a large biographic database to a promise of rare photographs of the Pol Pot leadership. The ability of the CGP to attract the cooperation of Cambodia scholars, along with legal and technical experts worldwide, is a key factor in explaining the success of the Program to date.

Cambodian Reception of the CGP

Cambodian leaders have complained for years that the outside world had not recognized the crimes of the Khmer Rouge and the tragedy of the Cambodian people. The initiation of the Cambodian Genocide Program helped answer this complaint on an international scale. This measure of recognition sparked a new willingness among the Cambodian political elite to squarely face the darkest chapter of Cambodian history. Cambodians have become full partners in the CGP's work. His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk wrote to CGP Manager Dr. Craig Etcheson on 21 July 1995, "I infinitely thank the distinguished promoters of this research program, especially Dr. Ben Kiernan and yourself, for the care that you have manifested, thanks to the 'Cambodian Genocide Program,' in nourishing truth and promoting and assuring respect for human rights in my country."

Since the earliest days of the CGP in January 1995, the Royal Cambodian Government has been unreservedly supportive of the mandate given to Yale University by the U.S. government. The Co-Prime Ministers, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Co-Ministers of Interior, the Minister of Justice, the Co-Ministers of Defense, and the President of the National Assembly have all pledged their personal and institutional cooperation with the CGP. Enthusiasm about the goals of the program transcends political affiliation, with support coming from the leadership of all three parties represented in the government. But the cooperation of the Royal Government has gone far beyond pledges. The Royal Government is providing the CGP with a wide range of resources to facilitate our work in Cambodia and in the region at large.

At the Striving for Justice Conference in Phnom Penh on August 21 and 22, 1995, First Prime Minister Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh and Second Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen publicly committed the Royal Cambodian Government to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to justice for their crimes against humanity. In his opening address to the conference, the First Prime Minister complimented the CGP, saying, "On behalf of the Royal Government, on behalf of Samdech Hun Sen, Second Prime Minister, and on my own behalf, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and warmest congratulations to the Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigation and Yale University for embarking on the two years programme of documentation, research and training on the Cambodian genocide. I would also like to express my sincere thanks equally to the United States to create the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act and its appointment of Yale University to carry out the two year programme."

Substantively, the First Prime Minister argued, "The international crimes of the Khmer Rouge violated the most central norms of international law and this clearly affected the interests of all states in general and Cambodia in particular." His Royal Highness the First Prime Minister added, "The Royal Government is determined to bring those responsible for the perpetration of these heinous crimes against the Cambodian people to face justice." In his closing address to the conference, His Excellency Samdech Hun Sen summed up the view of many participants by saying of the conference, "This is not about politics, it is about justice. If we do not bring the Khmer Rouge to justice for killing millions of people, then there is no point in speaking about human rights in Cambodia."

Large numbers of ordinary Cambodian citizens seem to concur with the Co-Prime Ministers. Many Cambodians in Cambodia, the U.S., and other countries have volunteered their assistance. Since June 1995, a team of Cambodian volunteers in New Haven, CT, has been preparing a biographical index of Khmer Rouge political leaders and military commanders. As of September 1995, Cambodian-American citizens' groups in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, California, and Texas have offered to compile witness testimony on behalf of the CGP. The thirst for justice is powerful among the survivors of Pol Pot's genocide.

[Insert "Child in the Killing Field" Photo]
Photo courtesy of Craig Etcheson

The CGP is collecting evidence of victim impacts. One example is
this photograph of a child contemplating the future while standing alone among more than fifty mass graves on the shores of Tonle Bati. Tonle Bati lies within the original zone of control
of Chhit Choeun (alias Mok, alias "The Butcher"), currently thought to be number three in the Khmer Rouge leadership, and
leader of the KR army.

Consistent with these feelings of ordinary Cambodians and the policy of the government, the CGP has received from the Royal Cambodian Government significant assistance to our research program. One of the most useful forms of this aid is the unprecedented assistance from the Royal Government in retrieving documentation from Vietnam unavailable to researchers up until now. In combination with previously unexamined archives from the Cambodian People's Party, Royal Government ministries, and private archives now being opened to the CGP in Cambodia, a wealth of new data pertaining to criminal culpability during the Khmer Rouge regime seems destined to come to light. It is the expressed policy of the Royal Government to assist the CGP in uncovering such important information.


To ensure objectivity and quality control, the CGP has instituted a rigorous two-tier system of program evaluation. In the first tier, the Steering Group of the Department of State's Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigations conducts periodic external reviews of CGP operations. As a basis for these evaluations, in May 1995 CGP Manager Dr. Craig Etcheson produced a 209-page Implementation Plan outlining the Program's strategy for achieving its objectives. The first external evaluation, held in June 1995, termed the progress of CGP operations "excellent" (Time Magazine, June 26, 1995).

CGP also carries out an internal review process, staffed by distinguished experts in international law and genocide investigation, such as Professor Cherif Bassiouni, former Chair of the United Nations Commission of Experts for the inquiry on violations of international humanitarian law in the Former Yugoslavia (predecessor to the Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal). The first round of internal evaluation of CGP operations began in June 1995. This evaluation has already produced numerous useful ideas for improving various aspects of our operations, and yielded an overall positive appraisal of CGP progress. According to one evaluator, "Your thoughtful and methodical explanations for the preparation of such a project should serve as a model for the documentation and analysis of crimes against humanity in other countries... The training program designed to support the project is outstanding."


In 1994 the prospect of a trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders seemed remote. Now, through the work of the Cambodian Genocide Program, it has become a strong probability. In 1994, the information resources and legal evidence necessary for a judicial accounting of the genocide had yet to be identified or assembled, and the required legal skills did not yet exist. These prerequisites are now well on the way toward fulfillment. By the end of 1996, when the CGP's mandate will expire, an international Cambodian genocide tribunal may have already commenced functioning. By then, the CGP will certainly have provided the scholarly and legal resources for Cambodians to pursue their own justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. In short, the Cambodian Genocide Program has taken major steps to fulfill its own three-part mandate: to expose the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, to document those crimes, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

[Insert "Kang Kech Iev" Graphic]
Photos courtesy of Tuol Sleng Museum; Document courtesy of Ben Kiernan

The CGP team is assembling highly probative evidence of individual criminal responsiblity on the part of Khmer Rouge leaders. For example, this (Upper Left) is a photo of Cambodia's "Himmler," a man named Kang Kech Iev, alias Deuch, Director of the notorious Khmer Rouge extermination center at Tuol Sleng; (Center:) An order personally signed by Deuch, listing 17 people, including children as young as 9 years old, with his handwritten instruction, "Kill Them All"; (Lower Right:) One of the victims of the Tuol Sleng extermination center.
----------------------------------------------------------------- ===================== Craig Etcheson, Cambodian Genocide Program, Yale University email: [email protected]; tel: 203-432-9346; fax: 203-432-9381 snail: P.O. Box 208206, New Haven, CT 06520-8206, USA =====================


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