Documentation Center of Cambodia

2004 Annual Report


2004 was an eventful year for the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam). On October 4 and 5, 2004, Cambodia’s new National Assembly ratified: 1) The Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed during the period of Democratic Kampuchea, and 2) The Law on Amendments to the Law on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea.[*] On October 27, the head of state promulgated the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law, which harmonizes the government’s agreement with the UN on establishing the tribunal. The Cambodian people have waited for over a quarter of a century to see the regime’s senior leaders held accountable for their actions and justice done. Thus, the impending tribunal has been a focus of our work this year, and will continue to inform our activities in 2005.


Below we summarize our main accomplishments during 2004 in each of our major work areas.



2004 Accomplishments (*project completed in 2004)


Cataloguing and

Database Management

22,006 documents catalogued

12,152 documents keyed

Access Listing

7,524 documents


34,013 pages filmed

Photo Exhibitions

Forensic exhibit at Tuol Sleng; supplied materials to 3 other museums

Digital Photo Archives*

Produced book, catalogued and posted 180+ photographs



30-minute documentary produced and screened

Assistance provided to overseas filmmakers

Promoting Accountability and Rule of Law


450-page report produced on the 189 prisons, 19,403 mass graves, and 80 genocide memorials located by our Mapping Project

Forensics Study*

Mass grave reconnaissance


476 interviews completed; 7,235 pages transcribed

Work completed in 4 provinces

1,590 interviews analyzed

Tribunal Support

Procedures developed for access to DC-Cam archives

Public Information Room opened; hosts 983 visitors

DC-Cam office opened at Rutgers University (US)

Legal Training

*30 people given six weeks of legal training

Public Education and Outreach

Victims of Torture

196 people interviewed; 66 identified with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Expanded broadcasts to 2 additional provinces

In-house studio completed


180+ photographs posted; search engine implemented

Redesign began

Pre-Trial Outreach

Cham oral history and website, Buddhist nun march, and student canvassing planned

Living Documents

Planning begun

Genocide Education

Preparatory work begun

Cross-Border Cooperation

Assistance provided to NGOs in Iraq, Thailand, Serbia, and Vietnam

DC-Cam leads the development of an Affinity Group of similar organizations

Research, Publications, and Translation


84,000 Khmer and 2,800 English issues published and distributed

4,000+ government booklets on the tribunal distributed

Requests (e.g., family tracing) jump dramatically

Research and Writing

3 monographs published

Research assistance provided on 9 books by foreign scholars


Translations of 3 books completed

Research Forum

Essay contest held

Media and Academic Outreach

At least 200 articles published by or on DC-Cam



7 staff pursuing advanced degrees abroad

7 new Cambodian and 4 international volunteers, 6 visiting scholars


Security measures enhanced modestly

Fundraiser identified

Public Information Room added


We have met our exceeded our goals for 2004 in all but four areas:



Shortfall and Plans for Correction


Contract canceled with a local company hired to make our databases publicly available and increase server space. We have now contracted with an IT expert to design the database and will hire IT staff.

Non-Government Organization Cooperation

We did not increase our participation with local NGOs as much as planned. We sent staff representatives to nearly all of the NGO meetings we have been asked to attend, but other staff commitments precluded our direct involvement in many NGO umbrella groups and projects. For 2005, we plan to target the most promising of these projects and second staff to them; we will also work to include appropriate NGOs in one or more of the Center’s projects.

Website Posting

We had planned to complete the posting of our most important documents on the DC-Cam website in 2004, but did not meet this target. In October, a volunteer from the Netherlands (Isaac Tabor) joined us for seven months. He has begun the reorganization and re-design of our website, and posting a large number of documents and photographs. We expect to have the site up to date by April 2005.

Staff Development

Many of our most senior staff are on academic leave, and most of those remaining at DC-Cam have less experience and require closer supervision. This has resulted in slower progress on many projects. It has also increased the amount of time DC-Cam’s management must devote to staff supervision and development. This situation will begin to ease slightly with the return of a few senior staff next year.

1. Documentation


Documenting the history of the Khmer Rouge is at the core of our operations: it is an important part of our center’s mandate and plays a major role in all our projects. DC-Cam has been active in collecting documents relevant to the history of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) era for nearly a decade. To date, we have amassed well over 600,000 pages of documentation from the DK-era, petitions and interview transcripts taken from survivors of the regime, and a variety of other materials that could potentially serve as evidence at the tribunal.[†] DC-Cam by no means possesses a monopoly on documentation relevant to the crimes of Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) leaders, but it is the largest repository of such materials.


1.1      Cataloguing and Database Management


The first aspect of our documentation work entails collecting and cataloguing documents and managing two major databases, the Cambodian Genocide Bibliographic Database (CBIB) and the Cambodian Genocide Biographical Database (CBIO). Set up in collaboration with Yale University and the University of New South Wales, these databases contain detailed information on former Khmer Rouge leaders and cadres. They provide an organized information resource about the DK regime and many of its victims. The databases also facilitate our program of family tracing, whereby survivors of the DK era can search for information on lost loved ones. Because these databases are Internet accessible and available on CD-Rom and microfilm, scholars, legal personnel for the tribunal (both the prosecution and defense) and the general public in Cambodia and abroad can access them.


Cataloguing and Keying. Since DC-Cam began operating in 1995, we have catalogued (entered information into worksheets in preparation for adding them to our databases) or keyed (entered information into the databases) nearly 83,000 documents, which are housed in six collections. We have completed work on three of these (I, J, and K, which house biographies and confessions).  This year, we worked on two of the remaining collections: 

  • D Collection: General Khmer Rouge documents (e.g., notebooks, biographies, confessions, reports, execution logs) and the Anlong Veng (a KR stronghold until 1996) collection of post-KR materials (e.g., school textbooks, meeting minutes, reports).

  • R Collection: Petitions to the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea (the government that held power from 1979 to 1993) to oust the Khmer Rouge from their seat at the United Nations, including accounts of horrific crimes and descriptions of mass burial pits and prisons.



1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

2004 Total

D Collection







Keyed in Khmer






Keyed in English






R Collection







Keyed in Khmer






Keyed in English






Total catalogued


Total keyed



Indexing. In 2003, we began to prepare a hard-copy index of biographical information on nearly 11,000 Khmer Rouge contained in our CBIO database. This index will contain information on each individual’s name, alias, gender, place of birth, rank/position, and record number. In 2004, we decided to add a record of each person’s status (alive, executed, disappeared) based on interviews our Accountability Project teams have conducted with the relatives or neighbors of former Khmer Rouge. In 2004, we made corrections to the 2,820-page Khmer version of the book and translated 250 pages.


Access Listing. In 2004, we began entering our documents in a user-friendly Microsoft Access list. This list provides basic bibliographical information in English and Khmer. In 2004, we listed 7,524 documents from our D collection.


Website. In 2004, we contracted with a local company to increase our storage space on the Internet, provide a range of ongoing technical services, and assist us in updating and expanding our website. A main goal of this effort was to post searchable databases on the Internet, thus enabling us to share more of our documentation work with scholars and interested members of the public. However, we canceled our contract with the company when it failed to perform, and are hiring our own IT staff to improve our website.


1.2      Microfilming


This project aims to preserve historical documents related to the Khmer Rouge. It gives researchers and legal investigators access to our archival information without handling original documents, many of which have become fragile with age. To date, we have microfilmed all of the documents in our I, J, K, and L collections, with only part of our D and R collections remaining. In 2004, we microfilmed over 34,000 pages from these latter two collections.



1st Quarter


2nd Quarter


3rd Quarter


4th Quarter


2004 Total


D Collection






R Collection






Total microfilmed



We have been cooperating with Yale University’s Sterling Library since 1998 on duplicating our microfilm records for security and academic purposes. We sent the negatives to the library to be developed; they kept the masters and returned a copy to us. However, by the end of the year, Yale had yet to process 77 of the 482 reels of film we sent to them, some of which were over a year late in being returned to DC-Cam. Because Yale had not fulfilled its latest contractual obligations to DC-Cam (the deadline for their completion of the microfilm was December 31, 2004), we decided to develop our microfilm in-house, using a developer/duplicator that was installed in December.  During two weeks in December, we developed 8 reels (5,799 pages). We store the microfilm in-house and at secure locations inside Cambodia.


1.3      Photo Exhibitions


Exhibitions in Cambodia. Two of the photo exhibitions we installed during 2003 at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (one on former Khmer Rouge cadres during DK and today, and the other on the regime’s top leaders) continue to be displayed and receive favorable comments from Cambodian and international visitors alike.


From the USA: “I think this exhibition is very inspired. What was committed will never be forgivable. But the opportunity to give voice to those forced into Khmer Rouge servitude – for fear of their own lives – adds much to trying to understanding the atrocities. Seeing them in your beautiful (and technically very talented) photos as villagers today makes one realize how very recent and unfinished this is.”


From Ireland: “Your photo exhibition is excellent, depressing, real, and disturbing. It takes a lot of courage to be honest and real about what happened here at this “school.” The people of Cambodia are strong and brave, and I am left feeling sick and stunned.”


In 2004, we mounted a new forensic exhibition at Tuol Sleng. It contains photographs of 10 skulls excavated from Choeung Ek (the “killing fields” south of Phnom Penh where Tuol Sleng prisoners were executed) and other parts of Cambodia, accompanied by text explaining the type of trauma to each skull. This exhibit seeks to demonstrate the value of forensic evidence in documenting the Khmer Rouge’s crimes against humanity. It is also intended to educate the public about the types of information that can be scientifically gathered from victims’ remains in order to prove and record evidence of murder/genocide. (Because some Cambodians are uncomfortable with the idea of boxing human remains, we house the skulls in a separate room at Tuol Sleng, which is open only to officials.)


From the UK: “Thank you for the cogent presentation of a truly unbelievable period of your past history. History must never be allowed to repeat itself. I hope for a peaceful rebuilding of a new future, where lessons are learned.”


From Australia: “This museum is a confronting reminder of the cruelty humans are capable of, particularly when politically indoctrinated. This episode is, for me, the most appalling and disgraceful episode in recorded history…I was genuinely moved by the stories told here.”


In response to recent articles (e.g., “Cambodia-Khmer Rouge Museum: Upset Over Renovations at Cambodia’s Infamous Khmer Rouge Torture Prison,” AFP, November 11, 2004), DC-Cam received letters from Democratic Kampuchea survivors, historians, and museum specialists around the world expressing dismay at the prison’s recent renovation work, including a new paint job.  We continued to press for preserving as much of Tuol Sleng’s historical structure as possible while undertaking the necessary work to keep the buildings safe for the public, and the renovation work ceased. We have now begun negotiations with the government to take over the Tuol Sleng Museum so that proper restoration work can commence.


Other Worldwide Exhibits. In 2004, we supplied the Washington State Genocide Museum, the Chicago Killing Fields Museum, the new Rwanda Genocide Museum, and several individuals with photographs that have been used in exhibitions (nearly the entire collection of the Washington facility, which is the first Cambodian genocide museum in the United States, was provided by DC-Cam). We also began preparatory work with Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation to contribute photographs for an exhibit at its headquarters next year.


1.4      The Digital Photo Archive Project


DC-Cam interviewed over former Khmer Rouge cadre and their family members, and obtained nearly 200 photographs from the DK era. In December, w published a monograph on the recollections of these former cadres and their families (the base people) entitled Stilled Lives: Photographs from the Cambodian Genocide. We also scanned all of the photographs, captioned and indexed them, and are placing them and other project information on the Internet. The project team also received training on book design and layout in India.


1.5      Film Project


In 2004, DC-Cam provided research, translation, and other support to Cambodian director Rithy Panh on his documentary S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. In April, DC-Cam director Youk Chhang accompanied Mr. Panh to New York to screen the film at the United Nations in preface to fundraising for the tribunal. We also gave advisory support to Mr. Panh two other documentary films.


This year, DC-Cam also produced its first film, a 30-minute documentary entitled The Khmer Rouge Rice Fields: The Story of Rape Survivor Taing Kim. It is about a woman who was gang raped by Khmer Rouge soldiers and her views on justice and reconciliation. The film is shown at DC-Cam’s Public Information Room and daily at Tuol Sleng. It has been screened in Thailand, the Brussels Film Festival, Prix Bruno Mersch, and the Museum of Modern Art and Asian Cultural Council in New York. DVD productions of the film have earned $400, which is being used to support the education of Taing Kim’s children.


1.6      Collection of New Materials and Data


Although we possess a very large collection of documentary materials, we are always on the lookout for additional acquisitions. In 2004, we will continue to search for new documentary materials in Cambodia and abroad from both institutional sources and individuals. In October, DC-Cam’s director traveled to Hanoi to determine the status of the large number of DK-era documents held by the Vietnamese government.


2. Promoting Accountability and the Rule of Law


We do not expect that legal accountability for the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge will completely resolve the problems of poverty and injustice Cambodians face today. However, the leaders’ prosecution in a court of law will be the most important factor in helping victims realize some measure of justice for the wrongs committed against them and their loved ones, and then begin to reach closure with the past. Just as important, the process of accountability for the Khmer Rouge must serve as a bridge toward a stronger rule of law.


Important steps toward accountability were achieved in October 2004, when Cambodia ratified its agreement with the United Nations on the tribunal of senior Khmer Rouge leaders, promulgated the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law that harmonizes the agreement, and passed amendments to the law after a yearlong political deadlock that followed the country’s general election in July 2003. In 2004, DC-Cam continued or initiated a number of activities to support the trials of senior Khmer Rouge officials.


2.1      The Mapping Project


This project, which began in 1995, involved seeking out and mapping mass graves, former DK prisons, and genocide memorials using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.  Sometimes, the readers of our magazine also send us information on the locations of prisons and graves (in November, for example, a Cambodian expatriate wrote us to say he was the only one of 450 Lon Nol soldiers to survive a prison camp in Preik Datch near Neak Loeung along the Mekong River; DC-Cam was unaware of its existence).


Our mapping team identified 19,403 mass graves in 380 clusters, 189 Khmer Rouge security offices, and 80 memorials constructed by survivors of the DK regime. In addition, in 2004, we wrote a 450-page field report on this project with 180 photographs. Although the project formally closed this year, we are continuing to enter its master data set into our GIS database, and will post the data set on our website in 2005.


2.2      The Forensics Study


Based on existing mapping data, a team of three North American research and forensics experts and DC-Cam’s mapping team conducted a detailed reconnaissance of mass graves and memorials to identify sites for a full-scale forensic exhumation. In 2004, we mounted a forensic exhibition of human skeletal remains at the Tuol Sleng Museum and produced a project report on undisturbed graves in two Cambodian villages. Portions of the exhibit can now be viewed on our website.


One of the North American experts hired for the project (Dr. Michael Pollenen, FRCPC medical director and forensic pathologist of the Office of the Chief Coroner, Ontario, and associate professor of pathology, University of Toronto) was to complete a monograph on forensic findings and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Because Dr. Pollenen did not fulfill his obligations, we have decided to close this project, but we hope he will eventually produce a report on the project.


2.3      Accountability Project (PA)


Our PA Project focuses on fact-finding in advance of the tribunal and seeks to build a better historical understanding of the workings of the DK regime. One of our main activities in this vein is to draw a picture of subordinate-superior relationships during DK and to identify survivors (victims and former Khmer Rouge) who may be helpful in the tribunal. With the tribunal drawing near, we will accelerate the pace and expand the scope of this project.


Interviews and Database. In 2004, as in previous years, our main activity was to conduct interviews with former Khmer Rouge cadres in the field. Using information from our files, our team locates and interviews individuals who served in the DK regime. Our normal procedure is to identify and investigate all relevant biographies from a given geographic area using our CBIO database (see above). We conducted this work through field offices in Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Cham and Kampot provinces. In 2004, we conducted 476 field interviews, thus completing our work in these four provinces. We also transcribed the interviews (7,235 pages).


Analysis of Data. In 2004, we began a major new activity with Dr. Stephen Heder of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, who is one of the world’s leading experts on modern Cambodian history. Dr. Heder analyzed nearly 1,590 interviews (about 30,000 pages) we conducted with Khmer Rouge cadres to determine if they provide information relevant to the cases of the former Khmer Rouge officials most likely to stand trial. Dr. Heder wrote English summaries of the historically salient points in selected interviews, while preparing the materials for legal analysis and presentation to the Extraordinary Chambers. In addition, he accompanied our field teams to conduct several follow-up interviews with cadres who may be important in providing indications of the leadership chain of the Khmer Rouge. His analysis was completed in December 2004.


2.4      General Support for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal


As the UN and Cambodian government prepare for trials of certain former Khmer Rouge officials, we have been preparing to support the tribunal. Our activities include:


Procedures for Access to DC-Cam’s Archives. We worked with our legal advisors and sought the advice of legal experts from the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) to develop and issue rules and guidelines for accessing DC-Cam documents during the tribunal. The procedures were designed to ensure that our documents remain available for review by court and other authorized individuals and as secure as possible. We have provided a copy of the procedures to the appropriate UN and Cambodian authorities.


Tribunal Response Team. We began planning for this team in late 2003. In 2004, we added more detail to the plan, which we hope to implement in 2005 (depending on funding for the tribunal). The team would comprise Cambodian and non-Cambodian lawyers and political scientists/historians, two of whom would work full time and would be assisted by shorter- term personnel on an as-needed basis; they would be supervised by a DC-Cam staff member familiar with our Center’s documentary holdings. This independent and neutral team will be in a position to help tribunal and authorized officials (as well as the public) carry out research and documentary reviews as needed. Also, Center staff will translate additional documents into English in advance of the tribunal.


In addition, we began seeking support to bring one or more experts from within Cambodia or overseas (e.g., historians, document preservationists) to Phnom Penh to work closely with our team before and during the tribunal.


Public Information Room. To meet the need for documentation materials at the tribunal and dramatically increase access to our archival holdings, DC-Cam opened its new Public Information Room (PIR) in late April 2004. Access is given to legal personnel (representing both the defense and prosecution), scholars, reporters, and the general public. The PIR is also home to DC-Cam’s Victims of Torture Project and will house our Tribunal Response Team.


The PIR also functions as a library and educational forum. To date, it has received nearly 1,000 visitors, hosted guest lectures and in-house training, and screened 4 films on the regime.



2nd Quarter 2004

3rd Quarter 2004

4th Quarter 2004

Number of Visitors




In the past few months, DC-Cam has brought together and met with hundreds of Cham Muslim leaders from throughout the country, Buddhist nuns, and representatives of youth organizations, and held talks/planning sessions with them in the PIR (Section 3.4). It also provided the venue for our legal training course (Section 2.5).


DC-Cam Overseas Office. In 2004, we set up an office in the United States at Rutgers University to collect and disseminate information on Khmer Rouge history, with a particular emphasis on assisting the Cambodian North American community. This office also: 

  • Serves as a reciprocal exchange between DC-Cam and Rutgers students and faculty

  • Facilitates internships/externships at DC-Cam for Rutgers students

  • Presents research and training opportunities for Rutgers students and faculty

  • Provides a venue for exhibitions, conferences, and seminars

  • Locates information for and provide translations to personnel from the UN, members of the legal community, scholars, and others interested in the upcoming tribunal.

Two Rutgers graduate students from DC-Cam (Meng-Try Ea and Vannak Huy) are staffing this office on a volunteer basis. We are receiving support from Rutgers to keep the office open for at least two years.


2.5      Legal Training Project        


A critical part of our work is to train Cambodian leaders on human rights law and related subjects. In July and August, we held a six-week legal training course on international humanitarian and criminal law. It was attended by 30 law students, human rights NGO workers, reporters, political representatives, lawyers, and selected DC-Cam staff. The trainees’ institutions and project staff are listed below.


Trainees’ Institutions

Trainers/Project Staff

  • Cambodian Center for Human Rights

  • Cambodian Communication Institute, Royal University of Phnom Penh

  • Cambodia’s Women Crisis Center

  • Club of Cambodian Journalists

  • Documentation Center of Cambodia

  • Khmer Institute of Democracy

  • Rice Political Party

  • Royal Academy of Cambodia

  • Royal University of Law and Economics

  • Royal University of Phnom Penh

  • John Ciociari (supervisor)

  • Aubrey Ardema, Santa Clara University School of Law (coordinator and trainer)

  • Bunsou Sour, DC-Cam (coordinator)

  • Sorya Sim, DC-Cam (coordinator)

  • Noy Sophary, DC Cam (coordinator)

  • Phan Sochea, DC Cam (coordinator)

  • Julia M. Fromholz, University California, Berkeley/Harvard University

  • Katrina E. Anderson, Seattle University School of Law

  • Kelly Whitley, JD candidate, University of Virginia

  • Stephen Andrew Liang, Harvard Law School


As part of the course, our trainers prepared a short guide to the Khmer Rouge tribunal and a basic text introducing readers to the main features of human rights law relevant to development and transitional justice in Cambodia. It is now being edited.


3. Public Education and Outreach


DC-Cam is committed to expanding the range of forums in which we disseminate information, educate the public, and help Cambodians remember their past and reconcile with it. While we use a variety of traditional approaches to reach people (e.g., radio, website, publications), we also began work on two innovative projects to realize these goals. These projects will help average citizens participate directly in the tribunals and educate high school seniors on DK.


3.1      The Victims of Torture Project


We began this two-year project in late 2003 with the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO). It involves counseling for people who suffered abuse under the DK regime (both victims and perpetrators) and are traumatized today. Our primary role is to assist the TPO in identifying subjects for care.


Our original plan was to work in either Takeo or Kandal province, both of which contain a large proportion of victims of the Khmer Rouge. However, in 2004 we added the pilot area of Koh Sla in Kampot province to the project. The majority of survivors in this region were Khmer Rouge soldiers. Because of the sensitivities involved with the population in Koh Slah, our 2004 work concentrated on building residents’ trust through informal conversations, the erection of community street signs, the distribution of magazines, and radio broadcasts.


In early 2004 we completed comprehensive TPO training on counseling and the identification of trauma victims, and produced a questionnaire that we use in interviews to identify traumatized individuals. Of the 196 people interviewed, we identified about one-third as victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and referred them to TPO for treatment and counseling. In addition, we obtained local perspectives on justice and reconciliation. We began transcribing interviews this quarter and keying interview data into the CBIB database. Our preliminary findings are that there is a lower incidence of PTSD among former Khmer Rouge soldiers/cadres and a higher incidence among women (about twice as many women as men were identified as suffering from PTSD).



1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

2004 Total

Interviews Conducted






PTSD Victims Identified







3.2      Radio Broadcasts


In 2004, we continued to read selected articles from Searching for the Truth magazine on a local radio station, Women’s Media Center FM 102, which reaches many of Cambodia’s provinces. We produce a radio program on this station twice every week. To date, we have read approximately 57 articles. In addition, our staff members have been guest speakers on an FM 102-hosted talk show on the Khmer Rouge (a transcript of this show was published in Rasmei Kampuchea Daily). We also expanded our coverage to two additional provinces.





Start date


Womens Media Center

Phnom Penh


3:30-3:45 p.m.



First They Killed My Father

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Oct. 2002

May 2003

July 2004







7:00-7:30 a.m./p.m. Daily

First They Killed My Father

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Jun. 2004

Aug. 2004

Aug. 2004




Preah Vihear


7:00-7:30 a.m.

6:30-7:00 p.m.


First They Killed My Father

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Aug. 2004

Aug. 2004

Nov. 2004





* This station also reaches parts of Oddar Meanchey, Ratanak Kiri, Stung Treng, and Kampong Thom provinces.


In addition, we completed the construction of an in-house studio this year. The studio will allow us to prepare high-quality audio tapes that can be sent to provincial radio stations.


3.3      Website Development


Our web page is often the most readily available way for people to access our work. This is especially true overseas, where many students and scholars, expatriate Cambodians, and other interested individuals read our magazine articles and other reports electronically. Our website continued to increase its readership in 2004 and we also acquired more server space, allowing us to present more of our project findings and exhibitions on-line.


This year, for example, we scanned and captioned over 180 photographs donated to our Photo Archive project by former Khmer Rouge and their families. They have been test posted and all of the photographs will be loaded onto our website. We also recently added a search engine to our site, making it easier for visitors to find documents. Last, we have begun the re-design of our website to improve the organization of our information and make the site more attractive and effective.


3.4      Pre-Trial Outreach


The broader the public involvement, the more the tribunal will be viewed as effective and responsive to the needs of the Cambodian people. In 2004, we met with nearly 400 Cham Muslim leaders (hakem) from all parts of the country, 32 Buddhist nuns, and members of 22 youth and student associations in order to engage them in the tribunal process. These groups represent a variety of religious beliefs and ages. We began planning tribunal-related activities with them this year; these include a peace march organized by the nuns and information dissemination by the students.


3.5      Living Documents


In 2004, we began planning for a two-year project that would help ensure the involvement of the regime’s victims in the tribunal by bringing representatives of communes throughout Cambodia to attend a portion of a trial. Each representative would then return to his or her village and engage other members of the public in discussions on the proceedings. We would also publicize the forums in neighboring villages that did not have a representative at the trials so that their residents can attend. During the first year of the project, approximately 200 people (in groups of about 30) from representative communes will travel to Phnom Penh and attend a trial for one week. This process would be repeated for each of the ensuing five trials, allowing about 1,200 people to attend a trial during the three-year tribunal.


The project will also help build the momentum for democracy in Cambodia by allowing participants to serve as surrogate witnesses and “judges” at the tribunals; holding open, participatory discussions; making people aware of their “right to know”; and beginning a popular movement to demand more freedom of information. It will give the commune representatives a turn in the public eye (speaking, leading discussions, fielding questions), thus helping to build leaders for future commune and village elections. We intend to strengthen this benefit by giving community innovation and leadership training to emerging commune leaders.


3.6      Genocide Education


This two-year project began in late 2004. It will provide the Cambodian government with materials and resources to improve the quality and amount of high school education on Democratic Kampuchea. At present, all information on the regime has been removed from textbooks for both political and technical reasons. It is our belief that helping the younger generation learn the history of their country’s genocide will encourage a more active civil society in Cambodia, one that will work to prevent grave abuses of human rights in the future. We will conduct brief surveys of the status of genocide education in Cambodia, provide annotated bibliographies and materials for curriculum development, and prepare a brief text, with photographs, on Democratic Kampuchea suitable for 12th grade students. We also plan to utilize the expertise of the US Memorial Holocaust Museum, Anne Frank Foundation and other facilities in helping us prepare educational materials. Some of DC-Cam’s academic advisors will provide guidance on this project (e.g., David Chandler, Cambodia scholar and author of Voices from S-21; Frank Chalk, former chair of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre).


3.7      Cross-Border Cooperation


DC-Cam staff visited four countries this year to provide advice and assistance to organizations whose work is similar to ours:  

  • Iraq, to assist NGOs, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council to design a documentation effort to uncover abuses of the former Ba’athist regime.

  • Thailand, to help the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma design and implement a small documentation project for minority-controlled portions of Burma.

  • Serbia, to advise the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade on the creation of a network of documentation offices in the former Yugoslav states.

  • Vietnam, to seek cooperation on a study on Buddhism under Democratic Kampuchea.

We are now developing two activities that will increase our cooperation with, and assistance to, similar organizations overseas.


The Affinity Group. DC-Cam worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma to form an “affinity group” of documentation centers from other parts of the world (to date, the group will include organizations from former Yugoslavia, Guatemala, Burma, and Iraq) that would meet three or four times a year to share information and techniques, and work together to address constraints shared by its members. We would also call in international experts to help think through solutions to some of the technical documentation problems the Affinity Group wishes to work on. DC-Cam will host the first meeting of this group in March 2005.


Internships. In September, we met with representatives of several non-government organizations that are advocating for human rights in Burma (e.g., Burmese Women’s Union, Women’s Leagues of Burma, Shan Women’s Action Network). In 2005, we plan to host two or more interns from these groups, who will come to DC-Cam to learn about our documentation, public outreach, and other activities. In addition, we began a recruiting and screening process for the interns who will staff our 2005 legal training course. To date, we have reviewed and interviewed three students from Harvard University, one from Stanford, and one each from schools in Canada and New York.  DC-Cam also began work on recruiting six interns from local schools to help our Data Entry Team next year.


4. Research, Publications, and Translation


Through monographs, short papers, and our monthly magazine, we work to uncover the history of the Khmer Rouge, interpret the facts, and present an impartial account to our many readers in Cambodia and abroad. We also attempt to foster meaningful public and academic debate in Cambodia about issues related to DK. In 2004, DC-Cam stepped up its research and publication activities.


4.1      Magazine Project


Since 2000, our monthly magazine, Searching for the Truth, has disseminated our work to the public and facilitated discourse on issues related to the Khmer Rouge. From January-December 2004, we published an issue in Khmer each month and an English edition every three months (the English editions contain articles selected from the Khmer issues).


Since we began publishing Searching for the Truth in January 2000, we have distributed over a half-million copies of our Khmer issues nationwide. In 2004, as in earlier years, we published 7,000 copies of each issue per month; of these over 80% are distributed free of charge, mostly in Cambodia. We have continued to work with LICADHO, PADEK, Partners for Development, and TPO to distribute the magazine. Our field researchers also carried copies to Cambodia’s villages and distributed them. Our English edition run is 700 copies, which are sold at various locations in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.


We also received personal stories, letters of appreciation, and requests for information from readers. In recent months, the number of requests for information on people who disappeared during the Lon Nol or Khmer Rouge regimes has jumped from 1 or 2 per month to about 15. We are also seeing a rise in the number of Cambodians abroad who are requesting help in learning about the fate of their family members.


In addition, we assisted the government’s Task Force for Cooperation with Foreign Legal Experts and Preparation of the Proceedings for the Trial of Senior Khmer Rouge Leaders in distributing An Introduction to the Khmer Rouge Trials, a booklet explaining the background, purpose and structure of the Extraordinary Chambers. We distributed 4,078 copies with the November issue of our magazine.


We began working late this year with the Cham Muslim community to plan the production of a quarterly magazine for 2005. We anticipate that the magazine will be 60 pages in length and cover topics of interest to the community. It will also contain a special section written in the Cham language, which employs Arabic script. In the last quarter of 2004, we began collecting stories and articles from members of the Cham community for this publication.


4.2      Historical Research and Writing


Our Research Project aims to develop an historical understanding of the DK era and to build the capacity of young Cambodians to produce quality writing and research. We also publish the work of international scholars who use DC-Cam documents as a basis for their research.


This project was initiated in 2001 and by the end of 2003 had produced three research monographs. In 2004, we published three more monographs: 

  • Seven Candidates for Prosecution by Stephen Heder and Brian Tittemore. This study examines the responsibility of seven senior officials (Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Ta Mok, Kae Pok, Sou Met and Meah Mut) for their roles in developing and implementing the policies of the Khmer Rouge. This is the first comprehensive legal analysis of available evidence against specific individuals for international crimes.

  • Reconciliation in Cambodia by Suzannah Linton. This book analyzes the results of a 2003 Searching for the Truth survey of justice and reconciliation in Cambodia, and provides a context for Cambodia in terms of similar efforts in such nations as South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and Rwanda.

  • Stilled Lives: Photographs from the Cambodian Genocide by Wynne Cougill with Pivoine Pang, Chhayran Ra, and Sopheak Sim. This book contains photographs and essays on the lives of 51 men and women who joined the Khmer Rouge (see Section 1).

In addition, DC-Cam legal advisor John Ciorciari and director Youk Chhang completed a chapter entitled “Documenting the Crimes of Democratic Kampuchea” that will appear in Awaiting Justice: Essays on Khmer Rouge Accountability (Jaya Ramji, Jason Abrams, and Beth Van Schaack, etc., Mellon Press, forthcoming).


DC-Cam has also provided support to a number of international authors who have recently published works on Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. These include:  

  • Khay Chuth’s Comment J’ai Menti aux Khmer Rouges (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004)

  • Maud Sundqvist’s Why Did They Kill So Many? (Swedish Committee for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, 2004)

  • Peter Macguire’s Facing Death (Colombia University Press, 2004)

  • Henri Locard’s Pol Pot’s Little Book: The Sayings of Angkar (Silkworm, 2004)

  • Philip Short’s Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare (John Murray, 2004)

  • Enos Slaughter’s Solath Sar (music CD) (Seers Music, 2004)

  • Alex Hinton’s Why Did they Kill? (University of California Press, 2004)

  • Ian Harris’ Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice (USA: University of Hawaii Press, 2004. This book will be edited for a general audience and published as a DC-Cam monograph in late 2005 or early 2006)

  •  John Ciociarcari’s guidebook on the Khmer Rouge tribunal (2005).

4.3      Translations


In 2004, we continued to translate a number of foreign-language works into Khmer for our Cambodian audiences. These are published in our magazine, Cambodian newspapers, and as monographs. The translations begun or completed in 2004 were: 

  • Brother Enemy by Nayan Chanda (published in a local newspaper)

  • Anne Frank’s Diary (published in a local newspaper)

  • Reconciliation in Cambodia by Suzannah Linton (summary only)

  • Tum Teav: A Study of a Cambodian Literary Classic by George Chigas III (in translation)

  • Journey into Light by Ronnie Yimsut (currently in translation).

4.4      Research Forum: Preserving the History of the Khmer Rouge Regime


In 2003, DC-Cam and the Khmer Writers Association held an essay competition for DK survivors.[‡] We asked survivors to submit narrative essays on their lives during the regime or their thoughts on issues related to the Khmer Rouge. Of the 43 essays submitted, 4 were given awards at a ceremony held on April 2, 2004. The winning essay has been published in both Khmer and English issues of Searching for the Truth.


4.5      Outreach through the Media and Academic Forums


Media Exposure, Articles and Interviews. To share our work and engage our staff members in public debate in Cambodia and abroad, we have long endeavored to respond to any media interest in our work and to grant interviews whenever possible. Our director, staff members, and advisors have also contributed regularly to public discourse and education through frequent articles in the local and international media. In 2004, at least 300 articles were published by or about DC-Cam. They appeared in both local (Cambodge Soir, Cambodia Daily, Cambodia Today, Kanhchak Snagkum, Koh Santepheap, The Khmer Conscience, Oudomkate Khmer, Phnom Penh Post, Rasmei Kampuchea Daily and The Voice of Khmer Youth) and international (ABA Radio Australia, ABC Online, ABC Radio Australia, AFP, The Age, AP, The Asahi Shimbun, The Australia News.Com.Au, Bangkok Post,  BBC News, Bellville.com, The Boston Globe, CBC News, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Dallas Morning News, Dow Jones Newswire, DPA, Expatica, Financial Times, The Herald, IANS, Japantoday,  Kyodo, Le Monde, Long Beach Press Telegram, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New York Times, News Telegraph, Newsweek, The Philadelphia Enquirer, Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle, Scotsman.com, The Star Online, The Sunday Star-Ledger, Taipei Times, TimeAsia, TimesDispatch.com, Timesonline, Toronto Star, UN News Center, Voice of America and WHOTV.Com) publications.


In addition, a number of our staff have appeared on or been the subject of radio and television programs this year. For example, Director Youk Chhang appeared on CNN and National Public Radio, while staff members Tola Norng and Savina Sirik were profiled on the Árte French television program Capte Absolute.


Public Lectures, Conferences and Seminars. We worked in 2004 to increase our public education output by sending staff members to deliver papers at numerous conferences. Those events give us a chance to share our work and our staff an opportunity to develop skills in writing and public speaking. In addition, our PIR holds seminars and lectures each month for students and members of the public about various aspects of Khmer Rouge history and related issues.


Selected Lectures, Seminars and Conferences

Phnom Penh in 2004

Selected Lectures, Seminars and Conferences

Overseas in 2004

  • Screening and discussions on the film S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, Royal University

  • Roundtable on building the case against senior Khmer Rouge leaders, Club of Cambodian Journalists

  • Presentations on the Khmer Rouge tribunal to factory workers, Khmer Youth Organization

  • Paper on the history of the Khmer Rouge and the legacy of conflict, Pannasastra University

  • Presentation on justice and reconciliation in Cambodia, Cambodian Youth Learning Community

  • Presentation on how to work with former Khmer Rouge cadres, German Development Service

  • Papers on cataloguing and documenting the Khmer Rouge, PACT

  • Screening and discussions on the film S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, United Nations headquarters, New York

  • Lectures on KR history, the roles of victims in the tribunal, and DC-Cam’s Living Documents project at 6 locations in Canada

  • Papers on reconciliation and justice: Conference on Issues and Challenges for Peace and Reconciliation in Southeast Asia

  • Training on international investigations, Institute for Criminal Investigations, the Netherlands

  • Presentation on the role of history in preventing the return of genocide, International Conference on Human Security, Bangkok

  • Paper on political transitions and justice in Cambodia, Danish Holocaust Institute

  • Paper on the Cham Muslims during DK, Kebangsaan University, Malaysia

  • Paper on the Internet in Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • Presentation on documentation of genocide, Dealing with the Past in ex-Yugoslavia, Belgrade


5. Personnel and Resource Development


We have made much progress on sending our staff abroad for education this year, as well as recruiting new staff. DC-Cam also greatly enlarged the Center’s space in 2004.


5.1      Personnel


Staff Development/Study Abroad. We have long believed that continual staff development is essential if we are to maximize the efficiency and quality of our work. Foreign study has been one of the most important means of increasing our employees’ skills, exposing them to new ideas and approaches, and enabling them to disseminate our work abroad. In 2004, we had seven staff members studying for advanced degrees abroad: 

  • Meng-Try Ea: PhD, global affairs, Rutgers University (USA)

  • Kok-Thay Eng: MA, genocide and peace studies, Coventry University (UK)

  • Vannak Huy: MS, global affairs, Rutgers University (USA)

  • Kosal Phat: PhD, international relations, Southern California University (USA)

  • Sayana Ser: MA, tourism and museum studies (Netherlands)

  • Bunsou P. Sour: LLM, Essex University (UK)

  • Dara Vanthan: LLM, human rights law, University of Notre Dame (USA; he returned to DC-Cam in early January).

In addition, staff member Dany Long began working on a graduate diploma in development studies in Vietnam and Switzerland at the Asian Institute of Technology. In Phnom Penh, Ysa Osman is continuing his work toward a BA in English. Last, Rachana Phat was admitted to study at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and will depart in January.


Volunteers. For the past ten years, we have benefited from the services of Cambodian and foreign interns and volunteers. Every member of our staff begun as a volunteer for a period of several months, and we continue that tradition to ensure that staff members are deeply committed to our cause. In 2004, we hosted seven new Cambodian volunteers (three are working for our Victims of Torture Project, two for our monthly magazine, and two for our PIR) and four international volunteers (three legal experts and a website/Internet expert).


Translation Capacity. Because our most experienced translation staff are on academic leave, our capacity in this area has been greatly diminished. As a result, we recruited two volunteers for translation, but will need additional volunteers and/or staff as the tribunal nears. Finding skilled and experienced translators will remain a constraint to our work, as such capacity is limited in Cambodia.


Visiting Scholars and Researchers. We hosted aix visiting scholars in 2004, each for a period of weeks or months:


  • Dr. Stephen Heder, University of London (UK)

  • Dr. Ian Harris, Oxford University (UK)

  • Professor Elizabeth Van Schaack, Santa Clara University School of Law (US)

  • Professor Ronald Slye, Seattle University School of Law (US)

  • Professor Noah Novogrodsay, University of Toronto Law School (Canada)

  • Bernie O’Donnell, senior prosecutor, ICTY, Institute for Criminal Investigations.

5.2      Facilities and Resources


In 2004, we greatly extend our space by renting a building immediately adjacent to our existing facility. It now serves as our Public Information Room (see Section 2.4). In addition, we took measures to enhance our security and find a professional fundraiser.


Security. As the prospective Khmer Rouge tribunal approaches, we have reviewed and modestly enhanced the security of our staff and documentary holdings. Our advisors and others helped build our awareness of possible security concerns (for example, we were recently apprised of indirect threats being made in Kampong Thom province toward the Center’s director). We have sent back-up copies of approximately 70% of our documents to universities in the United States as a precaution against security threats that may come with the tribunal. Nevertheless, we have not taken all of the precautions that we will need in advance of the tribunal, and this remains a clear area for further reflection and resource allocation.


Fundraising. After a long search, we have now identified a prospective consultant for fundraising. Negotiations are underway with a donor to fund this service. Having a permanent fundraiser will free up our management’s time for other activities.


Permanent Center. We are committed to the creation of a permanent center that will meet the long-term demands for our work, and will give us better security, a library and exhibition hall, proper storage facilities, and increased office space. Some time ago, we were given a plot of land by the Cambodian government adjacent to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. But the land is now occupied by hundreds of squatters. As an organization dedicated to the welfare of all Cambodians, we do not wish to initiate legal proceedings for eviction. We have asked the Cambodian government to provide us with a parcel of land in another location, and have also affirmed our offers of assistance to help restore and upgrade the Tuol Sleng Museum.


In 2004, we stepped up our search for a suitable location. Although we have found one that is ideal, we have not learned yet if our bid was accepted.


Prepared by Wynne Cougill (advisor) and Sorya Sim (deputy director)

[*] Although DC-Cam is not alone in encouraging the ratification, we feel that our advocacy of finding justice for the Cambodian people had some part in this process. In addition, in July 2004, we sent a request to the government proposing that it declare a national Day of Remembrance and Justice, which would be held on the first day of the tribunal. This holiday would allow Cambodians to honor the loved ones they lost during the regime and survivors to share their experiences with others. We are pleased to note that on October 5, 2005, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Cambodia will adopt this national holiday.


[†] A memorandum from the United Nations, A/59/432 of 12 October 2004 stated: “It is expected that the Chambers will rely heavily on documentary evidence. Some 200,000 pages of documentary evidence are expected to be examined. The bulk of that documentation is held by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, an NGO dedicated to research and preservation of documentation on crimes perpetrated during the period of Democratic Kampuchea.”


[‡] In addition to KWA, DC-Cam has assisted a number of other local NGOs this year. They include two organizations in Battambang and Siem Reap (capacity building), and the Khmer Institute of Democracy on a project to educate people in ten provinces before, during, and after the tribunal.