Report of the Cambodian Genocide Program, 1994-1997
Report to the United States Department of State
Bureau of East Asia and the Pacific
(i) The CGP Website
(ii) The Cambodian Genocide Data Base
(iii) The Documentation Center of Cambodia
(iv) Preserving Newly Discovered Archives
(v) Mass Grave and Prison System Mapping
The Cambodian genocide, in which at least 1.7 million people lost their lives, stands as one of the worst human tragedies of the modern era. In Cambodia, as in Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, extremist politics conspired with a diabolic disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale. The Cambodian genocide is unique, though, in that for many years it remained largely undocumented, and is only now being investigated for the purposes of bringing its perpetrators to justice.
In December 1994, the Cambodia Genocide Program (CGP) at Yale University received a grant of $499,000 from the Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigations, Bureau of East Asia and the Pacific, U.S. Department of State. This grant expired December 31, 1997. Upon receiving the grant, the CGP immediately began the work of documenting the mass killings in Cambodia during the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime headed by Pol Pot between 1975 and 1979. The Cambodian Genocide Program aims 1) to collect and study all extant information about this period in Cambodian history, 2) make this information available to a court or tribunal willing to prosecute Cambodian war criminals, and 3) generate a critical, analytic understanding of genocide which can be marshaled in the prevention of political violence against populations elsewhere in the world. The Cambodian Genocide Program has advanced these goals through a variety of activities which fall into four categories: documentation, preservation, research, and training.
The Cambodian Genocide Program began this work at an auspicious moment in the Cambodian political landscape, as certain obstacles which previously stood in the way of bringing closure to the genocide had been removed. With the end of the Cold War, the diplomatic and economic embargo placed on Cambodia by the U.S. ended, opening up the international flow of trade in ideas and information, as well as goods. The U.N. mission that oversaw democratic elections in Cambodia in 1993 resulted in the political isolation of the Khmer Rouge, which had been, up to that point, still a vocal, and to some, a credible political party. Finally, in 1994 the U.S. Congress adopted the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act, which expresses the American government's commitment to the pursuit of justice for the victims of the genocide. With the Cambodian government and the international community in harmony for the first time on the subject of the genocide, the Cambodian Genocide Program's agenda was not only well supported both within and outside Cambodia, but also very timely.
This report provides an overview of the CGP's objectives, and outlines its accomplishments to date.
Harnessing resources which represent over twenty years of careful scholarship at a critical moment in Cambodian and international politics, the Cambodian Genocide Program is integrating a vast range of source materials to illuminate the social and political environment in which nearly one fifth of all Cambodians died. The detailed picture of the Cambodian genocide which is emerging is not only comprehensive and exhaustively corroborated, but is also being made accessible to a broad range of Cambodians, international scholars, and legal professionals. Continued work by the CGP and its newly independent partner, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), will not only fill a substantial gap in the available scholarly resources on the Cambodian genocide, but will also serve as a significant prototype for the future study of genocidal activity elsewhere. Not least, it will be of great assistance to the United Nations investigatory commission now in formation, and to any prospective international tribunal. The powerful tools that the CGP is assembling in the interests of documentation and justice, both in Cambodia and around the world, represent an unprecedented attempt to combine scholarship, state-of-the-art technology, and international legal instruments to help bring closure to one of the worst human disasters of the 20th century.
OVERVIEW OF OBJECTIVES
The Cambodian Genocide Program has three broad objectives. First, it seeks to produce a comprehensive account of the Khmer Rouge regime of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-79). Existing information about this period of Cambodian history can be found in a wide range of locations, in a variety of languages, and in a range of physical conditions from useable to completely deteriorated. The CGP has undertaken to locate and identify all sources of information on this period, consolidate and analyze it, and preserve primary source materials which are at risk of being lost to decay, theft, or sabotage. In addition to consolidating existing sources of information on the Cambodian genocide, the CGP has also commissioned newly researched historiographical essays on the Khmer Rouge period. These essays provide detailed analyses of different features of the Cambodian genocide not well documented in existing materials.
The second major aim of the Cambodian Genocide Program is to see that the appropriate resources are available to any tribunal or commission of inquiry which undertakes to bring the leaders of the Cambodian genocide to justice. Toward this end, the CGP is constructing a comprehensive database of information which details the activities of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime, its personnel, chains of command, and corroborating evidence linking specific individuals in the regime to specific crimes against humanity. To supplement the existing archival evidence, the CGP has completed computerized satellite mapping of mass graves in half of the country.
In addition to providing documentary evidence of the Khmer Rouge's atrocities, the Cambodian Genocide Program has also begun developing the professional capacities required to ensure an effective inquiry. The CGP has conducted two courses in Phnom Penh to train twenty Cambodians in international human rights and criminal law and in the practical aspects of holding a tribunal or truth commission. These professionals are now well qualified to assist a Cambodian or international commission of inquiry into the Cambodian genocide.
The Cambodian Genocide Program's third objective is to advance a more theoretical understanding of genocide as a political phenomenon. Based on thorough documentation and analysis of the Cambodian genocide, from its earliest manifestations through to the international pursuit of justice, the CGP works to identify characteristics of this particular tragedy which may contribute to the identification, anticipation, and prevention of genocidal activities in other parts of the world. For example, from the research conducted to date, it is clear that the vision for Cambodian society advanced and brutally imposed by the Khmer Rouge is deeply rooted not only in conceptions of racial purity and communist utopianism, but also in conditions of modernity. From the elaborate bureaucracy of Democratic Kampuchea to the modern weaponry the Khmer Rouge deployed against its enemies, Pol Pot's regime held fast to the idea of a centralized political order that sought to maintain total control over its citizens at any cost. To the extent that these features of the Cambodian genocide resonate with genocidal regimes elsewhere, we can now begin to sketch out the contours of genocidal intent and behavior in a more general way, and thereby hopefully work to avoid similar tragedies. As a natural outgrowth of the Cambodian Genocide Program's work, Ben Kiernan, Director of the CGP, is writing a book on 20th century genocide, and the CGP has given birth to a new interdisciplinary research program on genocide studies at Yale, the first of its kind in the United States. With a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Genocide Studies Program began in January 1998 as a two-year Sawyer Series of Faculty Seminars on comparative genocide.
The Cambodian Genocide Program is a multidisciplinary, international institution with facilities in the USA, Cambodia, and Australia. It is based at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies (YCIAS). The CGP is sponsored by YCIAS, the Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies, and the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. CGP Director Ben Kiernan is Professor of History and author of The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1996). In 1995-96, Dr. Craig Etcheson served as Program Manager, and in 1997 as Acting Director. Kristine Mooseker is the CGP's Business Manager. Dr. Helen Jarvis, of the School of Information Systems, Technology and Management (SISTM) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, is the CGP's Documentation Consultant. Nereida Cross is database specialist. There are teams of CGP researchers and staff in both New Haven and Sydney. The CGP's partners include the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh (Youk Chhang, Executive Director), as well as other institutions at Yale such as the Institute for Biospheric Studies and the Center for Earth Observation, and at the University of New South Wales, such as the School of Geomatic Engineering. Prof. Harold H. Koh of Yale Law School, Director of the Schell Center, and Ronald C. Slye, Associate Director in 1995 and 1996, have supervised the Center's participation in the CGP's Legal Training Project.
CGP operations span four continents: North America, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Documentation operations include compiling the Cambodian Genocide Data Base (CGDB); providing World Wide Web access to our systems; the mass grave mapping project; preservation, cataloguing and analysis of the vast, newly-discovered Khmer Rouge archives; and additional work related to bringing the Program to a successful conclusion in terms of historical and legal evidence.
The principal objective of the Cambodian Genocide Program is the documentation of war crimes, genocide and other crimes against humanity in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime. The centerpiece of this work is the Cambodian Genocide Data Base (CGDB). Using state-of-the-art technology, this data base was mounted on the World Wide Web on January 27, 1997, making its findings available globally (www.yale.edu/cgp). Other CGP materials, such as a selection of scanned photographs of various aspects of Democratic Kampuchea, an organizational chart of the personnel of Tuol Sleng prison, and translated excerpts from the confidential diary of the Khmer Rouge Foreign Ministry under Ieng Sary, written in 1976-79, were also made available on the web.1
The CGP website was well-received. It was immediately awarded the Internet Site of the Day award by Academe Today, the on-line journal of the Chronicle of Higher Education (Academe Today Daily Report, January 28, 1997), and was named as History Site of the Week of March 16, 1997 by World History Compass. The CGP website was also the subject of a televised report on Cable News Network (CNN) on February 1, 1997, a New York Times Editorial Notebook (April 21, 1997), a San Jose Mercury News editorial (June 27, 1997), and other favorable press commentary, including long articles in the Sydney-Melbourne magazine Good Weekend (March 29, 1997), and Der Speigel (April 1997).
The number of daily recorded 'visitors' to the CGP website has always exceeded 500, reaching 4,500 'hits' per day in late January 1997, 3,000 per day in February-March, 800 per day in early April, 13,200 on 21 April (after the New York Times editorial appeared), 2,000-5,000 on April 22-24, and 1,000-1,500 in May, and then, as the Cambodian crisis developed in June 1997, rising to an average of 20,000 'hits' per day.
1 See Ben Kiernan, 'Ieng Sary's Role in the Pol Pot Regime,' Phnom Penh Post, January 24, 1997.
The Cambodian Genocide Data Base (CGDB) was developed by the CGP in collaboration with a team led by Helen Jarvis, CGP Documentation Consultant and Head of the School of Information, Library and Archive Studies at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. It contains a suite of information pertaining to massive violations of human rights in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. In the January 1997 preliminary release of CGDB, much of the information was focused on "S-21," also known as the Tuol Sleng Prison, which was the headquarters of the Khmer Rouge secret police.
The Cambodian Genocide Data Base has four components: bibliographic (CBIB), biographic (CBIO), photographic (CIMG), and geographic (CGEO). Along with the publicly accessible Website, the CGP has also released a CD-Rom version of the first three of these databases.2 - The CBIB bibliographic data base currently contains 2,500 records, mostly of primary documents in the Khmer language but also including all books, articles, and documents on the Khmer Rouge period in other languages. The CGP is attempting to create an indexed catalogue of all known primary and secondary documentary resources pertaining to gross violations of human rights during the Khmer Rouge regime. At present the Bibliographic Database contains records on the bulk of the secondary literature on the Khmer Rouge regime, as well as a large sample of the primary documents now known to have survived the years since the Khmer Rouge fell from power, including a full catalogue of all existing records of the Khmer Rouge prison at Krang Ta Chan, in rural Takeo Province.
The CBIB datastructure allows up to 40 fields of cataloguing information on each book, article or document.
- The CBIO biographic database currently contains about 6,000 records on specific individuals, mostly Khmer Rouge military and political leaders, but also on some of their victims. The CGP has collected information on members of Khmer Rouge political and military organizations. Also included is data on victims of the Khmer Rouge, many of whom were not members of any Khmer Rouge organization. We had entered information on some 6,000 persons into the Biographic Database as of December 1996. The largest category includes those Khmer Rouge who wrote "confessions" (usually under torture) in Tuol Sleng Prison.
We gratefully acknowledge the permission of the Cornell University Library's Southeast Asia Collection to include information from Cornell's catalogue of Tuol Sleng confessions. Other sources drawn upon for this preliminary release of the CGDB Biographic Database include a Tuol Sleng list of prisoners arrested in 1976 (including many not known to have written confessions), translated transcripts from a series of 500 interviews with Cambodians conducted by Ben Kiernan since 1978, and various of the secondary sources listed in the "sources" field and documentation of the Biographic Database. We have attempted to indicate the source for all information included. There are multiple records on a number of key individuals.
We have attempted to include information on all members of the Khmer Rouge organization who held positions of authority from the district (srok) level upwards, including regional (damban), zone (phumipeak) and center (mocchim) officials, and all officers of the Khmer Rouge armed forces from company (kong anousena thom) level and above. The CGP has information regarding the personal histories of many more Khmer Rouge personnel and victims in our archives. We will continue to add additional information to the CGDB Biographic Database.
There are up to 70 fields and subfields of information on each individual.
- The CIMG photographic database currently contains about 6,000 images of victims who were photographed by the Khmer Rouge upon arrest.
The Cambodian Genocide Program has obtained and scanned more than 10,000 photographic images pertaining to various aspects of gross human rights violations under the Khmer Rouge regime. In the initial release of data from our existing archive, we focussed on the victims of the Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, the notorious "S-21" extermination center.
More than 5,000 photographs were taken of prisoners being processed into the facility for interrogation and execution. For the vast majority of these photographs, the identity of the victim is unknown. The photographs are displayed along with a response form for CGDB users to contact us by e-mail to suggest names and other biographical data for unknown victims they may recognize. We encourage users to assist in identifying these victims, but we ask that information be submitted to the CGP only in cases where identification is reasonably certain. The CGP then attempts to correlate the suggested names and/or additional biographic details with other information in our possession, to obtain a positive identification of the victim. Informants may choose to remain anonymous if they wish. Where possible, we plan to electronically link these photographs to CBIO records on those individuals in the photographs.
In future releases of information in the CGDB Photographic Database, the CGP will add many other images relating to massive violations of human rights in Cambodia, including photographs of additional victims, Khmer Rouge personnel, genocide sites such as "killing fields" and prisons, forced labor work brigades, damage to religious buildings and artifacts, and more.
- The CGEO geographic database is a mapping database currently containing approximately 50 maps with data on over 100 'genocide sites' - prisons, mass graves, and memorials - associated with the Khmer Rouge execution system, including over 5,000 mass grave pits.
In 1995, with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the CGP initiated a project to create detailed maps of the infamous Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields," those places where large numbers of Cambodians were killed and buried in mass graves. By December 1996, CGP mapping teams had collected data from 37 of Cambodia's 172 districts, in nine provinces. In every district investigated, mass graves dating from the Khmer Rouge regime were located and examined by CGP researchers. A total of 5,192 mass grave pits were identified at these sites. Based on the patterns of violence and population distributions in the Khmer Rouge regime, the CGP estimated that the total number of mass grave pits in Cambodia may be as high as 20,000.
At most of the sites containing mass graves, CGP researchers have also identified Khmer Rouge-era prison facilities at or near the mass grave site. This fact, along with witness testimony and records of the Khmer Rouge security services obtained by the CGP, led us to conclude that most mass graves hold the remains of victims of centrally-organized violence, rather than of other causes of death such as disease or starvation. In addition to mass grave pits and prison facilities, the CGP also mapped the locations of memorials erected since 1979 in remembrance of Khmer Rouge victims.
The maps in the Geographic Database currently contain information on approximately one hundred and forty different sites in nine provinces, mostly in southern and eastern Cambodia. With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the CGP is now constructing a comprehensive inventory of the resting places of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. We also plan to add tables of data already collected to the maps in this database, so that users can identify the particular characteristics of each genocide site.
2 See 'Yale Genocide Records Released as CD-Rom,'Cambodia Daily, January 23, 2998, p. 11.
Forthcoming New Release
In order to make all this new information generally available, we plan for 1998 an extensive new release to supplement the CGDB. Based on current rates of data acquisition, information processing and storage capacity, the bibliographic data base will soon contain 3,500 records, mostly of primary documents in Khmer. The biographic database will eventually contain over 20,000 records on specific individuals, mostly Khmer Rouge military and political leaders, but also on some of their victims. The photographic database will contain up to 1,000 images of primary documents plus about 7,000 images of victims, perpetrators and genocide sites. The geographic database will soon contain the results of the 1997 CGP mapping work, assembling geographic and attribute data on a total of more than 210 genocide sites associated with the Khmer Rouge execution system, including some 9,138 mass grave pits.
Using custom software designed specifically for the CGP, Cambodian Genocide Database users are now able to browse through the CBIB bibliographic data base, and upon finding a record of interest, "jump" to a full digital image of that specific document with the "click" of a mouse. This capability can expedite the search for incriminating evidence of genocidal intent and activity. A great deal of new information uncovered by CGP researchers in Cambodia is also being prepared for scanning into the Cambodian Genocide Data Base. For instance, 71 files from the top secret Khmer Rouge Santebal archives (approximately 4,000 pages) have now been scanned, and 29 more such files will be scanned in the first quarter of 1998. Each document of these 100 high-security files is being catalogued and linked to a new record in the Bibliographic Database. Full bibliographic records in English and Khmer, including bilingual content summaries, have now been created for 810 Santebal documents. These records will soon be added to CBIB and will be available on updated versions of our CD-Rom and World Wide Website (www.yale.edu/cgp).
The Cambodian Genocide Database is a sophisticated, yet highly accessible, resource for understanding how and why the Khmer Rouge devastated Cambodia's 2,000 year-old culture and civilization. By integrating all known information pertaining to a genocide into a single computer database, and making that database globally available through the Internet, the Cambodian Genocide Program is pioneering a revolutionary method of documenting genocide and is providing a model for documentation efforts of genocidal activity elsewhere in the world.3
3 See Susan E. Cook, "Documenting Genocide: Cambodia's Lessons for Rwanda," Africa Today 44, 2 (April-June 1997), pp. 223-227, and a subsequent version of that paper presented at the American Anthropological Association annual meetings, November 1997.
In January 1995, the CGP established a nonprofit international non-governmental organization (NGO) in Phnom Penh, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam). Staffed entirely by Cambodians, the DC-Cam has been the field base for the documentation, research and training activities carried out by the CGP in Cambodia. CGP staff development training prepared the DC-Cam to assume full responsibility for its operations. It became an independent Cambodian research institute in January 1997. The CGP appointed a Board of Advisors consisting of 24 Cambodian professionals from the fields of information technology, human rights, journalism, and academia to help guide the DC-Cam. Together, these individuals represent a broad range of political opinions and technical expertise. In January 1997, they became the DC-Cam Board of Directors. Documentation Center of Cambodia Board of Directors, 1997-
n1. Ms. Chan Sotheavy, Ministry of Justice
3. Mr. Chhang Song, Advisor to the President of the National Assembly
4. Prof. Heng Samnang, Department of History, University of Phnom Penh
6. Mr. Hout Vuthy, Ministry of Justice
7. Mr. In Vong, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
8. Prof. Iv Chan, Department of History, University of Phnom Penh
9. Mr. Kang Rithkiri, Council of Ministers
10. Dr. Kek Galabru, LICADHO (Ligue Cambodgienne pour les Droits de lHomme)
11. H.E. Khieu Kanharith, Secretary of State for Information
12. Ms. Loeung Neakhatary, freelance researcher
13. Chumteav Nin Saphon, Member of the National Assembly, Takeo province
14. Mr. Ok Serei Sopheak, Chief of Cabinet to the Deputy Prime Minister
15. Mr. Pho Tip, Deputy Director of Tuol Sleng Museum
16. Mr. Choeung Pochin, American Bar Association, Cambodia
17. Mr. Seng Sivutha, Ministry of Justice
18. Mr. Sim Sorya, Yale University
19. Mr. Sin Khin, Director of National Archives, Council of Ministers
20. Mr. Soeung Pagnavuth, Ministry of Justice
21. Prof. Sombo Manara, Department of History, University of Phnom Penh
22. Venerable Tep Vong, Buddhist Patriarch
23. Gen. Uy Sereikol, Ministry of Interior
24. Mr. Yi Thoun, Buddhist Institute
Ex Officio Member: Mr. Youk Chhang, Executive Director, Documentation Center of Cambodia
Since 1997, the DC-Cam has been a Cambodian NGO whose purpose is to serve as a permanent institute for the study of the Khmer Rouge regime. In January 1998, it had a total of 16 paid staff and eight volunteer staff. All its equipment purchased with CGP funds in 1995-97 is being donated to the DC-Cam by Yale University. From January 1997 to September 2001, the CGP will provide the DC-Cam with additional funds totalling approximately $490,000 to support its operations in Cambodia. The DC-Cam is pursuing additional sources of future funding and has recently received a supplementary grant of $50,000 from the Norwegian Government.
The documentation and research produced by the CGP will continue to be deposited with the DC-Cam for access by the Cambodian people and other interested parties who wish to study the Khmer Rouge period or pursue legal redress for war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity perpetrated during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Mr. Youk Chhang and other DC-Cam staff write regularly for the Khmer- and English-language press in Phnom Penh.4
4 See for instance the Cambodia Daily articles by Youk Chhang, October 24 and November 3, 1997, and February 3, 1998, and by Phat Kosal, January 28, 1998, and the articles about Youk Chhang's questioning of Ieng Sary and others, Cambodia Times, May 19, 1997, Cambodia Daily, November 21, 1997 and Rasmei Kampuchea, November 27, 1997. See also the DC-Cam's 1998 Report, 'The Documentation Center of Cambodia: Acheivements and Challenges.' The Center's e-mail address is email@example.com
Based on the CGP's efforts to date, the DC-Cam now has the best collection of Khmer Rouge archives in the world. The recent addition of previously unknown archives that provide additional details about the structure and methods of the Khmer Rouge regime make the DC-Cam an unparalleled resource for understanding how the Cambodian genocide occurred. The ideological preoccupations of the Khmer Rouge leadership and the demographic toll of the genocide have both been much contested. The material contained in these documents could finally lay these debates to rest. There are three categories of newly discovered documents which the CGP and the DC-Cam are preserving and analyzing: 1) In late 1995, the DC-Cam discovered a large number of documents, previously unknown to scholars, pertaining to specific events during the Khmer Rouge period. The DC-Cam refers to these documents as the "Million Documents" because they appear to contain possibly a million signatures, results of an attempt to survey Cambodian individuals and families concerning the losses they suffered. This survey was carried out by the then Cambodian government in the immediate aftermath of the genocide, making it a vital source of first-hand information, unaltered by the blurring of memories. 2) Early in 1996, DC-Cam researchers located another previously unknown cache of documents, namely an archive of internal personnel records of the Khmer Rouge's Toul Sleng prison ('S-21'). Among the approximately 10,000 pages of records are eleven-page application forms filled out by prospective members of the prison staff, along with their photographs, short biographies, and lists of the tasks performed by each, including torture. This cache also includes valuable information on victims at the prison. These documents provide a unique and unprecedented view of the internal operations of Democratic Kampuchea's main torture and interrogation center. 3) In March 1996, DC-Cam obtained a vast new archive, which contains the records of the Khmer Rouge security ministry itself, the Santebal. The 100,000+ pages in this archive constitute the most valuable of any set of documents on the Khmer Rouge period for the purposes of connecting individuals in the regime to specific acts of torture, murder, and imprisonment. Detailing the mechanisms of political violence not only at the highest level, in the capital, but also in the Cambodian countryside, they contain concrete proof of the nationwide scope of the genocide and its centralized organization. These documents are in poor condition and in serious danger of further deterioration. The Cambodian Genocide Program proposes to preserve, microfilm, photocopy or digitally scan, store, and then catalog and analyze this archive. Its contents will also be included in the CGP database. With the available staff and training already in place to do this work, the DC-Cam is uniquely qualified to undertake this project. This work is urgent due to the increasing likelihood of an international investigation or tribunal, in which these documents would play a key role. The work is proceeding on target, if not ahead of schedule.
(v) Mass Grave and Prison System Mapping Project
Integral to the CGP's documentation effort is the construction of a comprehensive geographic map of the terror apparatus overseen by the Khmer Rouge regime. The CGP is thus devising a precise computerized map of the prisons, torture and execution centers, and mass grave sites in Cambodia. It was initially estimated that there were at least one hundred sites to be catalogued and mapped, but the first phase of the Mapping Project revealed this figure to be an underestimation.
The first phase of the Mapping Project was funded at the level of A$24,300 (US$18,808) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Commonwealth of Australia, through a grant to the CGP Documentation Consultant, Dr. Helen Jarvis. In 1995-96, the CGP completed preliminary surveys in six of Cambodia's twenty provinces, locating more than 5,000 mass grave pits. The second phase, which begun in 1997, was funded at the level of $50,000 by the Government of the Netherlands. CGP mapping teams have located another 4,000 mass graves. A third phase of documenting the mass grave and prison system is now in process, with the support of the Yale Institute of Biospheric Studies.
The results of the CGP's Mass Grave and Prison System Mapping Project over the past three years are summarised in the accompanying table, 'Summary Results of Mass Grave Surveys in Cambodia, 1995-1997.' CGP Mapping teams have so far visited and recorded 269 sites, with an estimated 9,138 mass grave pits, possibly containing half a million victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.
(i) Documentation Training
CGP Documentation Consultant, Dr. Helen Jarvis, made three trips to Cambodia in 1995 and 1996 to assist in the training of CGP Program Officer Mr. Youk Chhang and other Documentation Center staff. Her assistant, SISTM database specialist Ms. Nereida Cross, made one trip for the same purpose. These training visits, focussing on bibliographic and database skills, were instrumental in helping establish the Documentation Center as a professionally-run physical and electronic archive. In 1997, Jarvis and Cross made further visits to provide additional training. Mr. Youk Chhang, who quickly mastered the necessary skills, has since demonstrated his capacity to successfully run such an archive and research institute. Other DC-Cam staff, particularly Mr. Im Sothearith, Ms. Lim Ky, and Mr. Phat Kosal, have demonstrated a high degree of skill as professional documentalists.
The training provided by the CGP to the Documentation Center in 1995-97 concerned the following aspects of cataloguing and analyzing a range of materials, including prison records, confessions, and petitions:
- the application of international standards such as language codes, AACR2 cataloguing rules, archival materials description, and the UNIMARC format;
- the application of additional codes and analysis for geographic areas, covering both the DK period and those from the Gazeteer of Cambodia for contemporary administrative divisions;
- assistance in establishing procedures for scanning and setting up gif file names for scanned documents; training in using CDS/ISIS and Winisis (CDS/ISIS for Windows);
- instruction in using the Khmer fonts in Winisis data entry (1996 and 1997).
Training materials included ACCR2, CDS/ISIS manual, UNIMARC manual and input manuals for each database specially developed by the CGP. Also, the CGP provided training in the continuing development and application of its transliteration table for the Khmer script.
In April 1997, Documentation Center staff Youk Chhang and Phat Kosal visited SILAS (the School of Information, Library and Archive Studies) for further training in Sydney, and another DC-Cam staffer followed in August/September. These visits concentrated on further developing skills in using Winisis and cataloguing items into databases with both Khmer and English language fields. The main emphasis in the training was on the CBIB and CTS databases (which were developed by the CGP for bibliographic and photographic items), and other aspects of CBIB and Winisis. Some further consultations were held with regard to the geographic database with UNSW's School of Geomatic Engineering while Youk Chhang and Phat Kosal were in Sydney, and later in the year through Helen Jarvis and Nereida Cross. Training conducted in Cambodia by Nereida Cross in May 1997 was on Khmer script data entry in Winisis with three other DC-Cam staff members, on the CBIB database, and on all aspects of the new CTS database, with four staff members.
In 1995 and again in 1997, Helen Jarvis and other CGP personnel also provided DC-Cam staff with training in use of the Global Positioning System equipment and software, for the CGP's Mass Grave Mapping Project.
With the support of an additional grant of $31,000 from the U.S. Department of State, in 1995 the CGP hosted an international conference on the legal options available to victims of the Cambodian genocide. It was entitled, 'Striving for Justice: International Criminal Law in the Cambodian Context.' This Conference, chaired by CGP Director Ben Kiernan, was held in Phnom Penh on 21 and 22 August 1995. It was addressed by two international legal scholars, Prof. Steven Ratner and Mr. Jason Abrams, who had been commissioned by the Department of State to review the legal possibilities. Cambodia's two Co-Prime Ministers also addressed the Conference; both highly praised Yale University and the CGP. The Conference was attended by 100 others, including six members of the Cambodian National Assembly, senior officials from the Council of Ministers and various government organs such as the Justice Ministry, and legal professionals. The Cambodian Royal Government subsequently considered several options for a legal accounting of the genocide: a domestic tribunal, a truth commission, and a request for an international tribunal.
To enable Cambodia to pursue any desired options, the CGP ran two Legal Training summer schools in 1995 and 1996, in cooperation with our sponsor, the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. From June to August 1995, we held a nine-week course on international criminal law and human rights law, prepared and taught by five Schell Fellows with translation and other services provided by the Documentation Center of Cambodia. Seventeen Cambodian legal professionals completed the program, including various officials and six judge interns 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, other 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.
In Phnom Penh from June 8 to August 16, 1996, the CGP held its second Legal Training summer school. This was directed by Professors Dolores A. Donovan and Jeffrey S. Brand of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Their course focussed on the practical aspects of holding a tribunal or truth commission. Twenty-one Cambodians took this course, including nine from the Ministry of Justice, three from Interior, two from Foreign Affairs, four from the Council of Ministers, one from the National Assembly Secretariat, and two from the non-government human rights organizations ADHOC and LICADHO. With the assistance of the Yale Provost's Office, the Kemf Fund, the Open Society Institute, and the Swedish International Development Authority, distinguished jurists were brought in from the Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague (Mr. Payam Akhavan), the U.S. (Prof. Judd Iversen of the University of San Francisco School of Law, and forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow), Zimbabwe (Mr. Reg Austin, formerly head of the Electoral Component of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia), South Africa (Prof. Medard Rwelamira, member of the Law Faculty of the University of the Western Cape and architect of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Act), and the United Kingdom (forensic pathologist Prof. Peter Vanezis), to lecture on various legal and evidentiary topics. Prof. Ben Kiernan also provided lectures on the nature of historical and legal evidence.
At the conclusion of the training program, the CGP, with the assistance of the Schell Center for International Human Rights and the Documentation Center of Cambodia, organized a two-day conference to allow the Professors Donovan and Brand and the Cambodian participants to engage in discussions with Cambodian government representatives on the various options available to achieve legal accountability for the crimes committed in 1975-1979. Members of the National Assembly and of the executive branch of the government were included among the guests.
Professors Donovan and Brand, some of the guest lecturers, and CGP staff also held four informal meetings with members of the Cambodian government, including the Secretary-General of the Cambodian People's Party, the Minister of Justice, the chef de cabinet of the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and a FUNCINPEC party member of the Royal Council of Jurists. Again, Cambodia's options in international law were discussed.
Meanwhile, CGP Director Ben Kiernan and DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang met with the Vice-Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Sar Kheng, and with His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk, in order to discuss the legal avenues for redress for the crimes committed in 1975-79. The King expressed a strong preference for a United Nations Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunal, to be held in Phnom Penh with the participation of Cambodian lawyers from the non-government sector (see below).
In June 1997, the First and Second Prime Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia, H.R.H. Norodom Ranariddh and Mr. Hun Sen, jointly launched an official appeal for United Nations intervention to establish an international tribunal to judge the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. In November 1997, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the Khmer Rouge and expressed its concern that those responsible for the massacres had not been brought to justice. The UN Secretary-General is currently in the process of establishing a commission of legal experts to examine the evidence and possibly recommend an international criminal tribunal or truth commission.
5 Barry Wain, 'Bring the Khmer Rouge to Justice,' Asian Wall Street Journal, 16 January 1998. See also the report by Professors Donovan and Brand on the CGP's 1996 Legal Training Project, along with two reports prepared by Yale's Schell Center for International Human Rights: the CGP's Legal Training Manual first prepared for the 1995 summer school, and a report on the CGP's 1997 legal project carried out in conjunction with the Documentation Center of Cambodia. The CGP has also translated a large body of material on international criminal law into Khmer, for distribution in bilingual packets to participants in its legal training summer schools. See the DC-Cam's list, 'Documentation Center of Cambodia, Legal Training Materials.'
The CGP has successfully graduated two Cambodian students from Yale University. With the assistance of the Yale Council on East Asian Studies and the U.S. Council on International Educational Exchange, Mr. Heng Samnang, a historian from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, completed his M.A. in History at Yale in 1996, and has since returned home and taken up posts in Cambodian public and private education.
Mr. Sorya Sim, formerly of the staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Cambodian National Assembly, also received assistance from the Council on International Educational Exchange. He graduated from Yale with an M.A. in International Relations in 1997. Mr. Sim has likewise returned to Cambodia and is currently working on the staff of the Documentation Center in Phnom Penh.
Both Mr. Samnang and Mr. Sim enriched the CGP's research program at Yale by working with CGP staff on a part-time basis during their educational training and also worked fulltime in practical training programs as CGP research assistants for some months immediately before their return home.
The CGP also brought Prof. Sambo Manara, another member of the History Department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, to Yale as a Visiting Research Scholar for seven months in 1996. In 1997, Prof. Manara was admitted to the M.A. Program in History at California State University, Long Beach, where he began a two-year course of study and training.
The CGP has also provided assistance and training to other scholars in Cambodia. With financial support from the President of Yale University, Prof. Richard C. Levin, and the Director of YCIAS, Prof. Gustav Ranis, the CGP was able to provide a $5,000 subsidy to the 'First International Conference on Khmer Studies,' held at the University of Phnom Penh in August 1996.
In 1995 and 1996, DC-Cam staff offered weekly training sessions for five Royal University of Phnom Penh historians, focussing on database and documentation skills. CGP staff Craig Etcheson and Ben Kiernan also provided classes on social science and historical methodology. Kiernan supervised the training of five University of Phnom Penh historians in the source materials and evidence, and research and writing on the Democratic Kampuchea period. One of these historians subsequently produced material in both English and Khmer of a publishable nature. Further publishable research was produced by Mr. Heng Samnang and Mr. Sorya Sim as a result of their graduate studies at Yale, as well as by several Cambodians of non-academic background as a result of their research collaboration with the CGP and the DC-Cam.
Finally, the CGP has been fortunate enough to attract the generosity of numerous volunteers in both Cambodia and New Haven. The Documentation Center of Cambodia has benefited from a consistent corps of volunteers, and the CGP's New Haven office could not have operated at its level of activity without the large team of Yale undergraduates, including many Cambodian-Americans, who have donated their time and labor to the Program's effort. In turn they have received training in Cambodian political history, literature and source evaluation, database and systems skills, and office operations.
In 1996, CGP Director Ben Kiernan published The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (New Haven, Yale University Press). This book was widely reviewed internationally (reviews can be read on the CGP's website at www.yale.edu/cgp). In 1998 it appeared in paperback, and in French translation as Le Genocide au Cambodge: race, ideologie et pouvoir, published by Gallimard with a subsidy from the Centre National du Livre. Polish and Khmer translations will appear in 1999.
In 1995 the CGP commissioned research reports, mostly by Cambodian scholars and writers, on a range of aspects of the social and political history of Democratic Kampuchea (DK). The following authors satisfactorily completed CGP research reports by 1997:
1) Heng Samnang: The Western Zone of DK (in English)
2) Sorya Sim: The Muslim Chams in DK (in English)
3) Sombo Manara: The Northwest Zone of DK (in Khmer, being translated into English)
4) Chhang Song: The Buddhist Monks in DK (in English)
5) Sara Colm: The Northeast Zone in DK (in English, being translated into Khmer)
6) Loeung Neakatary: Women in DK (in Khmer)
The CGP is currently editing these studies and plans to publish two volumes of research reports in a CGP Monograph Series on various aspects of Democratic Kampuchea. Ben Kiernan is writing an Introduction. The CGP also plans to publish the English translation by Phat Kosal and Ben Kiernan of a confidential Khmer Rouge diary, entitled Ieng Sary's Regime: the Diary of the Khmer Rouge Foreign Ministry, 1976-79. We plan to publish this and the monographs electronically on the World Wide Web, and in paper, in both English and Khmer.
E. Support from the Royal Government of Cambodia
Since the inception of its operations in Cambodia in January 1995, the Cambodian Genocide Program has enjoyed generous support and encouragement from His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, and from each of the major Cambodian parties, FUNCINPEC and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
Support from King Sihanouk
On 21 July 1995, His Majesty King Sihanouk wrote to the CGP's Craig Etcheson: "I thank infinitely the distinguished promoters of this program of research, in particular Dr. Ben Kiernan and yourself, for the manifest care, thanks to the 'Cambodian Genocide Program,' to bring out the truth and to promote and ensure respect for Human Rights in my country, so that my People, who still suffer from the aftermath and the incalculable consequences of this tragic episode of their History, may have a clear understanding of the responsibilities inherent in this bloody episode."
On 2 February 1996, His Majesty again wrote to Kiernan: "I give you my support so that full light may be shed on this most bloody and monstrous episode of the History of Cambodia and to meticulously pursue all enquiries so that the future generations may preserve the memory of this tragedy and thus make its repetition impossible."
On July 25, 1996, Ben Kiernan and Youk Chhang were granted an audience with His Majesty in the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. The King remarked: "Thank you for all the work to prevent the Khmer Rouge... At least we could let the world community know the crimes committed by Pol Pot and his regime... As far as the plan of setting up an international tribunal... Why not about Cambodia ? ... I support the idea of an international tribunal... Now the Khmer Rouge deserve to be judged and condemned by the international tribunal. The Royal Government must be involved in the process... Phnom Penh must be the spot for the tribunal [with] Cambodians among the judges... not taken from the government, but independent lawyers... You have my full support."
On 14 March 1997, His Majesty again wrote to Kiernan: 'You have undertaken and completed a long and meticulous task of enquiry and information on all the crimes perpetrated by the regime of 'Democratic Kampuchea' during the years 1975 to 1979, and drawn up an inventory of the victims. The results achieved honor you.'
The Co-Prime Ministers
In 1995-97, both Prime Ministers, First PM Norodom Ranariddh, and Second PM Hun Sen, provided assistance and encouragement to our work, as did Foreign Minister Ung Huot.
On 14 March 1996, His Royal Highness First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh wrote: "The Cambodian Genocide Program is to bring justice and restore faith in humanity and bring to justice the perpetrator of this heinous crime. Therefore, I fully and completely support all the works of this program without any reservation or second thoughts.'
In letters dated 23 September 1996 to the U.S. Secretary of State, the European Commission, the Human Rights Committee of the European Parliament, and the Australian Foreign Minister, His Royal Highness wrote: "I view the work already done by Yale University to be significant and that its continuation will benefit not only the future of Cambodia, but will be of interest worldwide. In my capacity as the First Prime Minister, I would like to emphasize how valuable I consider the Cambodia Genocide Program to be and that it should not cease. The information and evidence already gathered is considerable and impressive."
The Second Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, wrote to the CGP on January 9, 1998: "Your great effort as the Genocide Research and Documentation centre on the Khmer Rouge's Genocide in Cambodia will be useful to all scholars and researchers on this issue and also will remain as guidance to the past for the Cambodians of generations to come." Mr. Hun Sen expressed the hope that the CGP's documentation work would assist "future legal efforts in bringing to account those involved" in the genocide.
F. Other Support and Future CGP Activities
Various CGP projects have received funding and other support from units of the Australian, Dutch and Swedish governments. The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands provided a grant of $160,000 for several projects in 1997. Along with funding sources already cited, the CGP also received generous support from the Bunter Fund ($28,500), the Henry Luce Foundation, which provided a two year grant of $250,000 for 1997 and 1998, and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies ($10,000). This support bridged critical gaps and enabled the CGP to assure continuity in its activities and those of the Documentation Center of Cambodia in 1997. Additionally, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation donated $150,000 to fund a two-year Sawyer Seminar Series on Genocide in 1998 and 1999, under the direction of Ben Kiernan.
In June, 1997, the CGP received a grant for one million dollars from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State, which made possible the continuation of the core operations of the Cambodian Genocide Program until the year 2000 and of the Documentation Center of Cambodia until 2001. Future reports to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor will detail CGP activities funded by that Bureau.
The Cambodian Genocide Program expresses its gratitude to the East Asia and Pacific Bureau of the Department of State for its generous support in the years 1995-97, which enabled the CGP to commence its documentation, research and training operations, to establish its physical and electronic archives, and to train Cambodians to carry on this important work in their homeland in cooperation with foreign scholars.