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The Documentation Center of Cambodia

The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DCCAM) is a non--profit international non--governmental organization (NGO) established in January 1995 by Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) to facilitate training and field research in Cambodia related to CGP's mission. In January 1997, at the conclusion of CGP's mandate, DCCAM 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 to Cambodians and others who may wish to pursue legal redress for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity which may have been perpetrated under the Khmer Rouge regime. There is an online forum, soc.culture.cambodia, where these topics are frequently discussed.

DCCAM and CGP are the products of a unique public--private partnership created by the United States' Congress. A little background information is useful in understanding the genesis and purposes of these entities. Over the course of several years, a sustained lobbying campaign was undertaken by NGO's in the U.S. aimed at persuading the Congress to enact legislation which would commit the U.S. government to help bring Khmer Rouge leaders to justice for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This effort was spearheaded by a coalition of NGO's known as the Campaign to Oppose the Return of the Khmer Rouge and by the International NGO Forum on Cambodia ([email protected]). Finally, in early 1994, Congress passed the legislation, and in May 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill known as the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act. This law provided for the establishment of a U.S. Department of State Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigations (CGI), and, in turn, for CGI to contract with private "individuals and organizations" to carry out a variety of preparations for bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to account for their actions between 1975 and 1979.

Following a process of competitive bidding, Yale University was selected to carry out the bulk of the work to be supervised by CGI. Professor Ben Kiernan ([email protected]) is Director of Yale's Cambodian Genocide Program, which is co--sponsored by the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and by the Yale Law School's Orville H. Schell, Jr., Center for International Human Rights. The CGP mandate includes three main projects and several ancillary efforts. One project is documentation, which involves assembling a massive computer database containing all known primary and secondary source material pertaining to the years of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia. A second project involves training legal officers of the Royal Government of Cambodia and Cambodian human rights organizations on the latest developments in international criminal law and international humanitarian law. The third project consists of in--depth historiographical research aiming to understand in greater detail the national and regional policies implemented by the Khmer Rouge regime.

At the conclusion of the Cambodian Genocide Program, the documentation and research products of the program will be deposited with the Documentation Center of Cambodia for access by the Cambodian people, and, through the internet, will be made available to all interested parties. The projected implementation date for the online genocide database is the fourth quarter of 1996.

For more information on the Cambodian Genocide Program or the Documentation Center, contact the Program Manager, Dr. Craig Etcheson, at [email protected] The Documentation Center email address is [email protected]


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