Summary of the Documentation Center of

Cambodia’s 2005 Activities





2005 was a highly important year for the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) – and indeed, for all of Cambodia. It was one in which our efforts to help make the Extraordinary Chambers a reality at last bore fruit.


In the public arena, we redoubled our efforts to help the survivors of Democratic Kampuchea and other Cambodians understand how the legal process for the Extraordinary Chambers will work, to encourage the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to make its legal processes and tribunal arrangements transparent and accessible to all, and to help ordinary citizens take part in this process. A few of our activities in this regard included: 

  • Expanding our pre-trial outreach efforts through projects to organize a Buddhist nuns’ peace march for the opening day of the trials, an oral history of the Cham Muslim community, and student volunteers’ provision of over 45,000 copies of materials on the tribunal to villages in 20 provinces.

  • Mounting a new exhibition at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum on the stories of former Khmer Rouge.

  • Preparing a textbook for high school students on the history of Democratic Kampuchea, the first such text written by a Cambodian.

  • Redesigning and reorganizing our website, and adding a new user-friendly database compiled from DC-Cam’s archives and a chronology of tribunal developments.

  • Publishing two DC-Cam monographs and the translating and publishing two books by authors from abroad.

  • The continuation of our magazine’s publication and radio broadcasts.

We also launched a new effort in 2005 to reach the Cambodian expatriate community and others living abroad. This year, DC-Cam opened an office and public information room in the United States at Rutgers University. It contains a complete set of DC-Cam’s archival and other materials, making it the largest collection of such documents on the Khmer Rouge in the United States.


In the legal and documentation areas, we have nearly completed our arrangements for working with the Extraordinary Chambers during the tribunal process. Our 2005 accomplishments include:

  • Cataloging and entering nearly 20,000 English/Khmer records into our new database, entering over almost 14,000 records into a Microsoft Access List, and instituting a printable index of our documents for those without computers.

  • Completing the guidelines for access to DC-Cam’s archives during the tribunal, writing a memorandum of understanding for using our documents, and preparing a list of the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s chain of command. We also began preparing a report on the chain of custody of our documents.

  • Finalizing the mandate, organizational structure, and terms of reference for DC-Cam’s Tribunal Response Team.  This team will facilitate officials’ access to our documents, assist tribunal personnel in interpreting and understanding them, and provide outreach in Cambodia and abroad.

  • Conducting over nearly 1,000 interviews with survivors of Democratic Kampuchea, conducted by four projects.

  • Contracting with Dr. Stephen Heder of the University of London to analyze nearly 2,000 of our interviews to determine whether they provide information relevant to the cases of the former Khmer Rouge officials who are likely to stand trial.

  • Providing data to the UN investigating team through Dr. Heder. In early January, he was officially contracted by the UN to compile “a list of open source documents and interview transcripts of general relevance and potential importance in bringing to trial senior leaders of DK and those who were most responsible for” Khmer Rouge crimes.

  • Providing three 12-day legal training courses focusing on the defense counsel to 84 people from Cambodia’s legal and NGO communities, among others.

  • Taking steps to ensure the security and integrity of our documents and data.

Tribunal Developments


The fourth quarter of 2005 marked an important turning point in the long-awaited trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders.  Over the past eight years, many parties have played important roles in bringing the Extraordinary Chambers to fruition. With the core supports of the US and the Swedish Governments, DC-Cam was able to advocate for bringing the leaders of Democratic Kampuchea to justice during this period, as well as to keep the memory of Cambodia’s genocide alive, both within the country and abroad.


Over the past year, we have been preparing a chronology that details the developments preceding the establishment of the Khmer Rouge tribunal; it was compiled from news clippings, press releases, and statements by personnel from the Royal Cambodian Government (RGC), United Nations, and diplomats, among others. We posted the chronology on our website this year, and will continue to add to it as the Extraordinary Chambers (EC) gets underway. Some of the more recent developments we note below that are related to the EC were taken from our chronology.


On December 12, 2005, UN Tribunal Coordinator Michele Lee and her team visited DC-Cam’s archives. The team included the Chiefs of Security, Information and Communications Technology, Budget and Finance, and General Services, as well as officials from the United Nations Headquarters in New York—Anne-Marie Ibanez from the Department of Political Affairs and David Huchinson from the Office of Legal Affairs. They met with DC-Cam’s Tribunal Response Team, who offered to give them a set of microfilms of our documents for use by tribunal personnel. The microfilms contain all of the records on the Khmer Rouge regime that DC-Cam possesses. At Michele Lee’s request, we also offered the use of our office space, should personnel from the Extraordinary Chambers need it, as well as the services of our researchers.


Stephen Heder, a scholar on Democratic Kampuchea from the University of London who has a long association with DC-Cam, was officially contracted by the UN to compile “a list of open source documents and interview transcripts of general relevance and potential importance for the tribunal.” In early January, Dr. Heder made a formal request to view DC-Cam’s documents related to Democratic Kampuchea and the Communist Party of Kampuchea to double-check and expand his existing collection. We are now providing him with data and documents that the UN investigating team will use for the EC.


In December and early January, DC-Cam’s director Youk Chhang met with several diplomats who were visiting Cambodia, including:

  • Sweden's Minister for Justice Thomas Bodstrom to discuss the tribunal

  • US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli to visit the court building and examine security and construction plans with the UN/Cambodian Government team

  • Christopher Hill, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, to visit Toul Sleng.

DC-Cam has been making careful preparations for the tribunal for several years, and these preparations were redoubled in 2005. As the description of our 2005 activities reflects, we have already begun providing documents to the EC and are eager to assist it in other ways, and to help prepare the Cambodian public for the upcoming trials.


DC-Cam Activities


1.      Documentation


Documentation provides the foundation for our Center’s work. The documents held at DC-Cam will likely provide the bulk of the evidentiary materials used at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. They also serve a variety of other purposes, including education (this year, we used documents from Democratic Kampuchea in writing a history text for Cambodian high school students) and family tracing (in 2005, we were able to provide Cambodians with bibliographies, confessions and other materials on over 50 of their family members who disappeared during the regime).  


An Example of DC-Cam’s Family Tracing Activities during 2005


At the request of his son, our staff located the confessions of Huot Sambath, who served as a parliamentarian and Cambodia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1962 and 1964, and the National United Front of Kampuchea’s ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1970 to 1976, when he returned to Cambodia. He left 12 confessions (57 pages in English) dated between September 9 and December 1, 1976, and was subsequently executed at Tuol Sleng Prison.


A friend of his family wrote to us:


Dear Youk and DC-Cam
Thank you for providing Rami the photos, records and translation for his father, Huot Sambath. Rami last saw his father at age six. It has been 30 years that Rami has been seeking answers about his father's death at Tuol Sleng. Thank-you so much for providing Rami closure.

Furthermore, as a friend of Rami's who is creating a video documentary about his father's legacy, I thank you personally, Youk, for your time, compassion and wisdom you provided to Rami. Your comforting words meant so much to both of us.

Tiara Delgado

Filmmaker/Producer (The Fragile Hope)


1.1       Cataloging and Database Management


DC-Cam catalogs its documentary materials in four databases. Much of the information in them comes from our archives, which contain approximately 600,000 pages of documents related to the Khmer Rouge. While the documents in our collection are primarily from Democratic Kampuchea, they also include materials from the Lon Nol regime (1970-1975) and the post-1979 era (e.g., interview transcripts from survivors of the regime, victim petitions from 1982-83).

The four databases are DC-Cam’s authorized copies of the Cambodian Genocide Databases, which are copyrighted property of Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP). The databases are the products of collaboration among the CGP, University of New South Wales, and DC-Cam. Between 1995, when DC-Cam was founded by the CGP and September 2001 when our formal collaboration drew to a successful conclusion, our organizations collected, catalogued and entered into the databases 2,963 bibliographical records, 10,690 biographical records, 5,190 photographs, and information on the locations of mass graves, genocide memorials, and Khmer Rouge prisons.

In September 2001, DC-Cam began modifying these databases to present the information in a different form and to include new information.  For example, we have added 19,752 records to our authorized copy of the biographical database, and continuously add new information to it and the other databases.


In early 2005, international experts from our Affinity Group (see Section 1.5) began assisting us on the design and development of a more user-friendly database with increased capacity and a new format/field design. A local company, Lemon Computers, entered the data from all four databases into the MySQL program. Late this quarter, we posted our new DC-Cam Khmer Rouge Database (which is the collective name for the four databases) on the Center’s website.  DC-Cam has copyright over the additions and modifications made to the four databases, while the CGP retains its copyright over the organizational structure of the databases and content entered before September 2001. We have attempted to note the proper copyright on each of the records in our versions of the databases and continue to cooperate with the CGP.


Currently, the databases hold the following records:

          1.    Khmer Rouge notebooks, reports, biographies, prisoner confessions and execution logs (the cataloguing of this collection was completed in 2004)


          2.    The Anlong Veng (a Khmer Rouge stronghold until 1996) collection of such post-1979 Khmer Rouge materials as school textbooks, minutes of meetings, and reports (we are continuing to catalog this collection)


          3.    Petitions made in the 1980s to the successor government (the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea) to oust the Khmer Rouge from their seat at the United Nations (the cataloguing of this collection was completed in 2005)


          4.    Interviews with former Khmer Rouge

          5.    Books and articles.

  • Photographic Database – 5,190 photographs of prisoners at Tuol Sleng.

  • Geographic Database – Maps and digital information on 19,403 mass grave sites, 189 Khmer Rouge security offices (prisons), and 80 genocide memorials from 170 districts across Cambodia.

Using an ISIS search engine, each database functions separately and can be searched separately. Because our databases are accessible on our website and available on CD-Rom, expatriate Cambodians can also utilize them.


We continued to key, catalog, and edit the records in these databases during 2005:

  • Records keyed: 36,216

  • Records catalogued: 3,124

  • Records edited: 505.

To facilitate research on our databases, we have entered 72,186 records into a Microsoft Access List (20,254 records were entered in 2005). This database is available for use in our Public Information Room (PIR) and on CD-Rom. In addition, since late 2003, our documentation team has been preparing a printable index for the Biographic Database, which contains fields on name, gender, place and date of birth, and names of mother and father. In 2005, we added 506 records to this 2,800 page index, which we will make available on microfiche for those who do not have computers. 


1.2       Microfilming


This project gives researchers and legal investigators access to DC-Cam’s archival information without the need to handle the original documents. From 1998 through 2004, we cooperated with Yale University’s Sterling Library on duplicating 482 reels of our microfilm records for security and academic purposes. We sent the negatives to the library to be developed; they kept the masters and sent us copies.


In 2005, we acquired a microfilm developer/duplicator, which has allowed us to develop our films in-house, while eliminating waits of several months, and sometimes years, for the films to be returned to the Center.


Most of the documents in our four databases had been microfilmed by the end of 2004; in 2005, we focused on microfilming documents from our Promoting Accountability team’s interviews, completing 52,153 pages.


We also began sending copies of our microfilmed materials this year to Rutgers University’s campus in Newark, New Jersey, where we recently opened an office (Section 2.5). We have sent Rutgers 524 reels to date. In addition, we have made our microfilms available to the public, who can order them from DC-Cam.


As the last section of this report notes, we have taken additional precautions to ensure that our files are safe. (DC-Cam has never sent original documents out of the country. On January 7, 2006, a steam leak at Yale University’s Sterling Library damaged more than 3,000 books and a valuable collection of Cambodian newspapers related to Cambodia’s genocide. Fortunately, none of the DC-Cam microfilms stored at the library were damaged.)


1.3       Museum Exhibitions


To mark the 30th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge’s takeover of Cambodia, DC-Cam opened an exhibition at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum on April 17. Based on the Center’s monograph Stilled Lives, it presented photographs and brief stories of 17 people who joined the Khmer Rouge. A visitor from Sweden wrote in the museum’s guestbook:


A beautiful exhibition of such terrible events. May we not only look upon it and say that we shall remember, so that it will never happen again, but learn from it to prevent any thing of this kind to occur in any country on our earth! With sympathy and remembrance for the victims of the KR.


We also contributed photographs to an exhibition at Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation. We sent Democratic Kampuchea rape survivor Taing Kim and a Cambodian Buddhist monk to a symposium that followed this exhibition. DC-Cam also provided photographs and other assistance to three filmmakers who were preparing documentaries on Cambodia. In addition, we helped the Czech embassy in Bangkok and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum with a World War II-era exhibition of paintings by children from the Czech ghettos.


From April 25-28, DC-Cam hosted a workshop for the National Museums of World Culture’s Southeast Asia Cultural Cooperation Program. At the workshop, 20 museum representatives from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Sweden worked to identify and articulate problems as well as priority areas for cooperation museum training/research, community relations and cooperation, collections research and methodology, interpretation and display, and management training).


We have also begun planning for an exhibition on the Khmer Rouge revolution, which will be shown at the Smithsonian Institution in 2007.


1.4       Digital Photo Archiving


This year, we began work on a new monograph on the lives of new people (those the Khmer Rouge evacuated from the cities) under Democratic Kampuchea. To date, we have conducted 51 interviews and collected 127 photographs for this project.


In addition, a private individual recently sent the Center over 100 photographs related to Democratic Kampuchea from the Chinese archives (these include photographs from King Norodom Sihanouk’s archives as well).


1.5       Affinity Group


Together with the International Center for Transitional Justice, DC-Cam led the development of an “Affinity Group” of documentation centers from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Thailand (working on human rights issues in Burma), and the former Yugoslavia to share information and techniques, and address the constraints shared by its members. The group also brings in international experts to help think through solutions to various technical problems.


The first meeting was hosted by DC-Cam from March 1-5; participants toured Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and met with former guards and prisoners from S-21. Following an introduction to DC-Cam that included detailed discussions of our documentation and outreach work, the group addressed such topics as strategic issues in collecting documents; technical issues in collecting, preserving, and using documents; and directions for the future of the group.


The second meeting was held at the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade in June and covered such documentation issues as ownership and custodianship, information management, memory, preservation and dissemination.  In November, the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation hosted the group, which addressed security issues and included visits to a grave exhumation and recently discovered police archives. The Iraq Memory Foundation will host the fourth meeting in Kurdistan in March 2006; it will focus on memorials.


2.      Promoting Accountability


Our projects in this area focus on fact-finding in advance of the tribunal and seek to build a better historical understanding of the workings of the Democratic Kampuchea (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 provide useful information to the Extraordinary Chambers.


2.1       Documentation


We have taken several steps this year to ensure the security and quality of our documents in preparation for the tribunal.


Guidelines for Access to DC-Cam Archives. DC-Cam’s archives are of great historical interest and may provide important evidentiary materials in any accountability process relating to the DK regime. In order to provide the Extraordinary Court and other authorized officials with full access to our documents, we worked with our legal advisors to develop and issue a set of rules and guidelines for viewing them as the tribunal process begins. The guidelines, which were finalized in December 2005, are designed to ensure that our documents remain both available for review and as secure as possible. We provided copies of the guidelines to the Director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers, the Coordinator of United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and Cambodian authorities. The guidelines were based on analyses of the draft National Archive Law, general principles of evidence concerning original documents, and the ICTY’s relevant rules on document authenticity, among others.


Memorandum of Understanding. In the last quarter of 2005, we prepared a memorandum of understanding that sets out rules, specifications, and a sample certification for using DC-Cam’s documents. It has also been sent to the Director of the Office of Administration and UN Coordinator.


Chain of Custody. DC-Cam’s director and staff are preparing a report on the chain of custody of the documents in our archives. It will be based on 38 questions proposed by lawyers related to the origin of documents, acquisitions, custodianship, and usage.


Translations of Important Documents. To date, we have assembled 1,287 Khmer Rouge telegrams sent from local to central leaders, reporting on daily social, health, military, and agricultural situations and activities. Some of these contain a Khmer Rouge leader’s handwritten notes in the margin. We have cross-checked their translations for accuracy and corrected them when necessary. In 2005, we completed 515 of these documents.


Chain of Command. From the documents noted above, we have listed the names of senior and middle-level CPK cadres, cross-checked them, and updated them with current information obtained in cooperation with Dr. Steve Heder, who was contracted to analyze our Promoting Accountability Team’s interviews.


Tribunal Response Team. We began to plan for this team in late 2003. By the last quarter of 2005, we finalized the team‘s mandate, organizational structure, and terms of reference. Briefly, the Response Team’s mandate is: to facilitate access to DC-Cam’s collection for Extraordinary Chambers (EC) officials and other staff, and to provide outreach services to Cambodian society and the international community in connection with the EC proceedings. The Response Team will not provide formal legal advice to any EC personnel; however, it will be available to assist with understanding and interpreting the documentary records left by the Khmer Rouge. In its outreach capacity, the Response Team will focus on using the EC proceedings to enhance the legal literacy of the Cambodian public. The long-term research and analysis work of DC-Cam will continue in parallel with the work of the Response Team when the EC proceedings are underway.


The Response Team will consist of Cambodian and foreign experts from the fields of law, history, political science, library science, and technology. Some will be based permanently at DC-Cam. Others will be based abroad and will consult remotely and in Cambodia with the Response Team on an as-needed basis.


Our staff member Bunsou Sour, who recently received an LLM from the University of Essex, UK, is heading this team. Two other staff members with law degrees from Phnom Penh universities will assist him. We are now screening applicants for the remaining positions and hope to complete this process during the first quarter of 2006.


The team’s responsibilities include assisting on the production of a guide for accessing DC-Cam’s documents and the preparation of a report on their chain of custody, compiling and identifying documents or contacts that might establish a criminal act or a chain of command, correcting existing translations, translating additional materials, and monitoring the trials. 


2.2       Public Information Room


To meet the tribunal’s anticipated need for documentary materials, in late April 2004 DC-Cam opened its Public Information Room (PIR). Access is given to legal personnel (representing both the defense and prosecution), students, scholars, reporters, and the general public. The PIR also provides space to many of our volunteers and researchers, and houses such activities as family tracing, meetings, media interviews, readings, Internet usage, guest lectures, films, and training (e.g., our legal training course and training sessions conducted by or with the National Museums of World Culture, Peace Forum, German Development Service, and Global Youth Connect).


In 2005, nearly 1,800 people visited our PIR and we copied over 1,800 documents and photographs for them.


2.3       The Promoting Accountability (PA) Project


This project aims to draw a picture of subordinate-superior relationships during Democratic Kampuchea, to identify a pool of survivors (victims and cadres) that may be helpful to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and to build the historic record on DK.


This year, our PA team worked from field offices in Kandal, Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, and Prey Veng provinces (it completed work in Kampong Thom and Pursat in 2005). The team conducted 429 interviews with survivors of Democratic Kampuchea and 180 with former Khmer Rouge cadres, totaling nearly 7,000 pages.


The PA Project enters records of its interviews in DC-Cam’s Accountability Database, which contains nearly 4,000 records at present. It also created a filing system in 2005 that includes transcripts, biographies, photographs, relevant documents such as confessions and execution lists, and audio tapes. To date, we have filed 4,961 folders and 2,080 audio tapes.


DC-Cam also contracted with Stephen Heder from the University of London to produce a manuscript analyzing the nearly 2,000 interviews (30,000 pages) the PA team conducted with former Khmer Rouge cadres since 2001. Specifically, he sought to determine if the interviews provide information relevant to the cases of the former Khmer Rouge officials most likely to stand trial: Ieng Sary, Mok, Duch, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Thirith, and Mam Nai (deputy prison chief of S-21). Dr. Heder prepared English summaries of the historically salient points in selected interviews, while preparing the materials for legal analysis and presentation to the Extraordinary Chambers.  His report, The Analysis of PA Interviews of 170 Cadres Related to the Khmer Rouge Leaders, presents new evidence of potential relevance to the prosecution.  In the third quarter, Dr. Heder began analyzing PA interview scripts with a new focus on building middle- and lower-rank chains of command.


2.4       Pre-trial Outreach (part of the Living Documents Project)


The broader the public involvement, the more the tribunal will be viewed as effective and responsive to the needs of the Cambodian people. Our Living Documents Project will bring 1,200 people from selected communes around the country to attend courtroom proceedings of the Khmer Rouge tribunal within three years. These villagers will not only see justice done but also will convey messages to their relatives and neighbors that the Cambodian government and the world sympathize with their tragedy and they are now well protected by the rule of law. This year, we have traveled to the provinces to become acquainted with villagers of different ages, genders, and religious beliefs so that we can later select people to attend the trials who are well respected in their villages.


An important part of this project is pre-trial outreach, which we began planning for in 2004. Our 2004 activities included meetings with nearly 400 Cham Muslim leaders (hakem) from all parts of the country, 32 Buddhist nuns, and members of 12 youth/student associations, and 200 students.  Our 2005 activities included:


Cham Community Outreach Project. Our work with this community includes an oral history project. We designed a 24-question survey on the experiences of Cham community members during Democratic Kampuchea. We have now distributed 1,008 copies to 336 Cham villages, and over 140 have been completed and returned to DC-Cam.


In conjunction with our questionnaire distribution, we distributed 960 sets of documents related to the upcoming tribunal, including copies of the Khmer Rouge Trial Law and the Agreement between the United Nations and the Cambodian government concerning the conduct of the tribunal. At the same time, we also interviewed 388 Cham religious/community leaders and villagers.


We will use the interviews and completed questionnaires in preparing a special edition of the DC-Cam magazine Searching for the Truth about the Cham. To date, 10 articles have been written and are being translated, and scholars/lawyers are being contacted for the legal and debate sections.


Nuns’ Peace March and Public Forums on Sexual Abuse under DK. Plans for nuns to organize a march for peace and justice in Phnom Penh were finalized in mid-2005. We anticipate that at least 500 nuns from throughout the country will participate, and that the march will be held on the official opening day of the trials. DC-Cam will facilitate this march with financial support for transport to and from the provinces. Participating nuns will also assist in hosting 44 public forums that DC-Cam will organize throughout Cambodia, with at least two forums in every province. The exact locations will be determined based in part upon their proximity to known killing and prison sites. These forums will focus on sexual abuses during Democratic Kampuchea and their continued impacts upon society today.


We plan to document these forums with video recordings, including interviews with participants, and to produce radio broadcasts. During the 4th quarter, we recruited 10 volunteers who attended 10 days of documentary film training by Mr. Doug Kass from the University of Southern California.


Student Outreach. In late 2004, DC-Cam recruited student volunteers to go door-to-door in several areas of Cambodia to explain the process, activities, and benefits of the tribunal to citizens. We selected 171 students and trained them, for example, on how to interview victims and perpetrators. His Excellency Mr. Maonh Saphan, then Chief of the Legal Commission of the Cambodian National Assembly, and His Excellency Mr. Sean Visoth, General Executive of the Secretariat of the Royal Government Task Force of the Council of Ministers, also spoke with the students.


During their two months of volunteer service (mid-July to mid-September 2005), the students visited approximately 250 villages in 20 provinces and 3 cities. There, they recorded 142 interviews with survivors and produced 3,462 written field reports that include villagers’ stories, their views on the tribunal, and lessons learned. Students also distributed 45,200 copies of project materials (e.g., Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law, KR Law Amendment, UN/Royal Government of Cambodia Agreement, introduction to the tribunal) to 13,100 villagers.


At the end of the field trips, eight students were selected to work for DC-Cam between late August and December 2005. Their responsibilities included filing, transcribing, and analyzing the reports described above, and summarizing 3,244 of them. They also compiled 578 questions that villagers asked the students, and transcribed 142 interviews.


2.5       DC-Cam Overseas Office and Public Information Room (PIR)


On April 1, 2005, we officially opened 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 forum for exchanges between DC-Cam and Rutgers’ students and faculty, internships/externships, research and training, exhibitions and seminars. In addition, our PIR personnel locate information and provide translations for people interested in the tribunal. When we have finished stocking this office with microfilms, films, maps, posters, photographs and publications on Democratic Kampuchea, it will hold the largest collection of such documents on the Khmer Rouge in the United States.


Twenty honors students from Rutgers are currently enrolled in an oral history program in which they will interview members of the Cambodian-American community in Philadelphia (many of its 100,000 members are survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime). Together with three DC-Cam volunteers, they are preparing a small photo exhibition to be mounted on March 28, 2006, as part of an annual event that includes presentation of a class project on Cambodian-American oral history, documentary film screenings, and survivor-based seminars on the Khmer Rouge.


3.      Public Education and Reconciliation Outreach


Our public education and reconciliation outreach work in 2005 consisted of five activities: 1) efforts to ameliorate the widespread psychological trauma inflicted upon survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, 2) the preparation of a text on the history of Democratic Kampuchea for Cambodian high school students, 3) public education through cinematography, 4) public education through the Internet, and 5) legal training in preparation for the tribunal. 


3.1       The Victims of Torture (VOT) Project


This two-year project with the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) was completed in 2005. It provided counseling for people who suffered abuse under the DK regime, whether victims or perpetrators, and who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our primary role was to assist the TPO in identifying subjects for care in Takeo, Kampot, and Kandal provinces. In order to identify subjects, we interviewed 302 people and identified 95 as suffering from PTSD. Also in 2005, the project developed a searchable database on the people interviewed for this project.


Many of our clients expressed satisfaction with their treatment. At our final counseling groups there on June 9-10, we asked clients to visit their pagodas, offer food to the monks and nuns, and invite monks who survived Democratic Kampuchea to talk about their experiences during the regime and the Buddhist ways of dealing with trauma, and to give blessings to our clients. Also in June, two interns from Global Youth Connect (an international organization for youth working to promote and defend human rights around the world), worked as volunteers on the project for two months.


The VOT Project also led an effort in 2005 to facilitate reconciliation between former Khmer Rouge cadres and their victims. From September 23-25, 50 former perpetrators and victims from Phnom Penh, and the three project provinces participated in a program we called “Our Journey to Search for the Truth and Reconciliation,” whose purpose was to jointly acknowledge the truth about what happened during the Khmer Rouge regime. During this program five genocidal sites and other sites of interest were visited in each province. Since then, we have received requests for films and books from project participants; one participant reported that he had shown the films at a restaurant in his community and that villagers requested copies so they could view the films at home.


In addition, two VOT staff members participated in the 40th Congress on Psychiatry in a Changing World conference organized by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center on May 22-26.


In January 2006, an evaluation team consisting of an anthropologist, sociologist, economist, and business expert will visit DC-Cam and evaluate the project. 


3.2       Genocide Education


For the past 25 years, formal education about the Khmer Rouge has ranged from near-complete political propaganda to an incomplete history. Since 2002, history books for Cambodian high school students have not contained any text on Democratic Kampuchea. This two-year project (2004-2006) aims to provide the Ministry of Education with a short, accurate, and unbiased text on Khmer Rouge history for high school students. This will be the first such history of the regime written by a Cambodian. The text is being evaluated by our advisor David Chandler, a world-renowned historian on Cambodia, as well as by a number of Cambodian and international academics.


Our activities have included testing the knowledge and attitudes of students on the Khmer Rouge regime, and drafting the text, which presents a general background (the early Communist movement through the establishment of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and its adversary political movements), the DK regime (covering conditions under the regime and a general history), and border conflicts with Vietnam and the fall of DK. We plan to publish the book in mid-2006.


In September, the textbook’s author, Khamboly Dy, audited courses on US foreign relations and the comparative study of genocide and international intervention at Carleton University in Montreal, Canada. While there, Professor Frank Chalk and Sonia Zylberberg (director of education at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and an educator from the US Memorial Holocaust Museum) reviewed and commented on his text.


3.3       The Film Project


DC-Cam’s 30-minute film The Khmer Rouge Rice Fields: The Story of Rape Survivor Tang Kim was one of three films nominated for a Grace Heritage award. It was screened at Grace Heritage in Washington, DC on May 1, 2005. The film has also been shown in Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, and Phnom Penh. DVD productions of the film have earned US $1,400 to date, which is being used to support the education of Taing Kim’s children.


On January 27-28, 2006, Rachana Phat will travel to Japan to discuss the film at a symposium sponsored by Osaka University of Foreign Studies. In March, this documentary will be screened in France at the 28th International Women’s Film Festival of Creteil.


3.4       Web Site Development (


This year we completed the redesign and reorganization of our website, which included writing new face pages, installing a search engine, regrouping materials, and adding several hundred photographs. Among the new features on the site are a chronology of the tribunal and the posting of our new Khmer Rouge databases.


We also continued to explore a number of issues surrounding the use of foul or defamatory language on our site in anticipation of hosting a public forum on the Internet. In addition, the Highest Council for Islamic Religious Affairs of Cambodia is helping us to collect data (number of people in villages, number of males/females, number of children attending school, means of livelihood, economic conditions) on Cambodia’s Cham Muslims. We will use these data to develop a website for this community. Last, work is continuing on our Khmer language website, and our current plans are to have it online next year.


3.5       The Legal Training Project


We held our third legal training course last summer, sponsored by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and focusing on the defense counsel.


Each two-week course dealt with different aspects of international criminal law and criminal defense relevant to the Khmer Rouge tribunal (KRT), and was accompanied by a two-volume set of course materials prepared by the legal training team. The courses covered: 

  • An introduction to the upcoming KRT

  • The rights of the defendant

  • The role of the defense counsel before the KRT

  • Potential challenges for defense counsel before the KRT

  • Rights and duties of defense counsel before the KRT

  • Types of defense

  • Defense motions and closing arguments.

Various methods of instruction were employed, including lectures, workshops, and question and answer sessions. The 27 participants in the first training session, which was held on July 11-22, included representatives from the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force, the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Association, the Center for Social Development, and the Khmer Institute of Democracy. At the second training session (August 15 -26), the 26 participants included reporters, journalists, attorneys, law students and lawyers-in-training, and representatives of the Cambodian Bar Association. The 31 participants in the third session (September 19-30) included villagers from several provinces and legal interns from the Lawyer Training Center.


The courses were taught and coordinated by personnel from:

  • The Criminal Resource Defense Center of Kosovo

  • DC-Cam

  • The former prosecutor at the Kosovo tribunal

  • Professors from McGeorge Law School (USA) and Utrecht University (Netherlands)

  • A judge from the Massachusetts District Court (USA)

  • Defense counsels before the ICTR and Sierra Leone/ICTY

  • A member of the Cambodian defense counsel

  • The deputy prosecutor of Kandal Provincial Court

  • Summer legal associates from the University of Toronto, and Georgetown, Rutgers, Harvard, Santa Clara and Yale universities. 

The lecturers from this legal training course produced an introductory book on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal that we will publish in 2006.


4.      Research, Translation, and Publication


4.1       Historical Research and Writing


Our Research Project aims to develop an historical understanding of the DK era and to build the capacity of young Cambodian scholars to produce quality writing and research. We also publish the work of international scholars who conduct extensive research at DC-Cam. In 2005, we published:

  • Tum Teav: A Study of a Cambodian Literary Classic by George Chigas, who holds a PhD from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell

  • The Chain of Terror: The Khmer Rouge Southwest Zone Security System by Meng-Try Ea, a DC-Cam staff member who is currently working on a PhD at Rugters University.

Several other manuscripts are nearing completion. They include:

  • The Cham Rebellion by Osman Ysa

  • The Winds from the West: Khmer Rouge Purges in Mondul Kiri, by Sara Colm of Human Rights Watch, with DC-Cam staff member Sorya Sim

  • A study of Buddhism under the Khmer Communists from 1970 to 1990 by Dr. Ian Harris of Oxford and Lancaster Universities

  • A short book on relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Khmer Rouge regime by John D. Ciorciari (former Wai Seng Senior Research Scholar at Oxford University)

  • An introductory text on the tribunal by our legal advisor John Ciorciari, other DC-Cam advisors, and our 2005 legal interns

  • A research manual for our staff and other researchers who write about Khmer Rouge history by Sorya Sim

  • An as-yet untitled photo archive monograph on the new people by Pivoine Beang and Wynne Cougill

  • A textbook on the history of Democratic Kampuchea for Cambodian high school students by Khamboly Dy.

In addition, DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang and DC-Cam Legal Advisor John Ciorciari wrote a chapter in Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice: Prosecuting Mass Violence before the Cambodian Courts, The Edwin Mellen Press, 2005. It examines the search for Khmer Rouge accountability from historical, Buddhist, and legal perspectives.


4.2       Translation and Publication of Foreign Books


We translated and published two books this year:

  • Histoire du Cambodge by Adhemard Leclere , translated by Tep Meng Khean

  • When the War was Over, by Elizabeth Becker, translated by Tep Meng Khean and Irene Sokha.

In early 2006, we will publish:

  • Journey to Light, by Ronnie Yimsuth, translated by Kok-Thay Eng.

We plan to publish several others, after the translations are complete and funding is obtained:

  • Lucky Child, by Loung Ung

  • Brother Enemy, by Nayan Chanda

  • Tum Teav, A Translation and Analysis of a Cambodian Literary Classic, by George Chigas

  • Getting Away with Genocide by Tom Fawthrop and Helen Jarvis

  • When Broken Glass Floats: Growing up under the Khmer Rouge, by Chanrithy Him.

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


The winner of the essay contest that DC-Cam has been co-sponsoring with the Khmer Writers Association will be announced in April 2006. To date, we have received 17 submissions.


5.      Magazine and Radio


5.1       The Magazine Project


This year, we produced 12 issues of the Khmer language edition of Searching for the Truth. The magazine’s main sections – documentation, history, legal, debate, and family tracing – contained 109 articles and 32 announcements for missing relatives. As reflected in the magazine’s editorials, the focus this year was on the upcoming tribunal and its funding. In addition, we published four issues of the English language version of the magazine, whose articles are drawn from the Khmer language version.


Local NGOs LICADHO, PADEC, TPO and PED continued to help us distribute our magazine. We distribute around 21,000 copies of the Khmer edition free of charge each month.


Readers sent in over 50 articles and letters this year. They covered requests for the magazine and photographs, expressions of appreciation for DC-Cam’s provision of documents on missing relatives, and comments on our magazine.


In addition, we opened an in-house print shop in late 2005; it will begin operations in 2006. The print shop can produce 5,000 to 7,000 one-color pages per hour. In the near future, we will be able to print our magazine and monographs at this print shop, making our publications more cost-effective.


5.2       Radio Broadcasts


This year, we read and broadcast articles from Searching for the Truth, Anne Frank’s Diary, Stilled Lives and An Introduction to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on the radio. The table below shows the history of our broadcasts.





Start date


Women’s Media Center

Phnom Penh

FM102 MHz

As of 1st Q 2005

7:30-7:45 p.m.



First They Killed My Father

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Stilled Lives

Oct. 2002

May 2003

July 2004

 Nov 2005






FM93.25 MHz

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

First They Killed My Father

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Introduction to KR Tribunal

Stilled Lives

Jun. 2004

Aug. 2004

Aug. 2004

Jan. 2005

Nov 2005






Preah Vihear

FM99 MHz

(this broadcast reaches parts of Oddar Meanchey, Ratanak Kiri, Stung Treng, and Kampong Thom provinces)

7:00-7:30 a.m.

6:30-7:00 p.m.


First They Killed My Father

Introduction to KR Tribunal

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Stilled Lives

Aug. 2004


Aug. 2004

Nov. 2004







FM103 MHz

9:00-9:30 a.m.

3:00-3:30 p.m.

Searching for the Truth

Anne Frank’s Diary

Stilled Lives

Feb. 2005

Feb. 2005

Nov 2005





In 2005, we were able to increase the cost-effectiveness of our production by completing the setup of a new studio housed at DC-Cam. We continue to send pre-recorded tapes to local radio stations.


6.      Staff Development


In 2005, three of our staff members began pursuing master’s degrees abroad, and another was admitted for advanced degree studies for 2006:


  • Kok-Thay Eng was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and started to work on a master’s degree at Rutgers University, USA during the fall 2005 term (Meng-Try Ea and Vannak Huy continue to pursue their doctoral and master’s studies, respectively, at Rutgers).


  • Kheang Ly Sok and Phalla Prum Phalla began their studies in September for Masters of Arts degrees in Peace and Reconciliation Studies at Coventry University, UK.

  • Simala Pan will join the Masters Program in Leisure, Tourism, and Environment at Wagenigen University, Netherlands, in fall 2006 (Sayana Ser will complete her master’s degree at this university in 2006).


Several others participated in short courses:


  • Sochea Phann took part in the Fourth International Investigator Course at the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) of the International Law Faculty at the University of Leiden in The Hague and at the School for Peace Missions at the Royal Netherlands Army base at Amersfoort from April 4-15.


  • Farina So was given a scholarship for a course on Islam, Gender, and Reproductive Rights organized by the Center for Women’s Studies, State Islamic University in Indonesia from June 4-25.

  • Kalyan Sann and Pivoine Beang were awarded fellowships to attend the Electronic Research and Publishing Programme for journalists in Stockholm, Sweden from October 3-23.

    Osman Ysa and Sophary Noy will join Sida’s International Training Programme 2006, studying Human Rights and Disability (May) and Project Management (April), respectively.


7. Acknowledgements of DC-Cam’s Contributions


7.1       Media and Academic Coverage


During each quarter of 2005, between 100 and 200 news items on Khmer Rouge issues appeared in 23 local and international publications; DC-Cam’s work was referenced in many of these. The local publications included Cambodge Soir, Cambodia Daily, Oudomkate Khmer, Phnom Penh Post, Rasmei Kampuchea Daily and The Voice of Khmer Youth. The international ones included ABC Radio Australia, AFP, AP, STUFF (, Kyodo, The Nation, Rutgers Newark Online, PRINT, New York Times, Green Left Weekly, Vail Daily, USA Today, International Herald Tribune, TES Friday, The Washington Post, Democracy, UN Press Releases and BBC News. In addition, our staff frequently contributed articles and editorials in the local media.


7.2       Acknowledgements from Donors


Evaluation. We are happy to report that a 2004 donor review cited DC-Cam activities as “both relevant and effective. It performs according to its workplan and it seems to be well organized. Its activities are relevant to the objectives, its outputs are of good quality, and its pubic outreach is commendable.” However, the review also stated that improvements should be made in DC-Cam’s cooperation with other local NGOs. We acknowledge that we have under-reported our work in this area and made efforts to improve.


In 2005, DC-Cam staff members attended, and were frequent presenters at, over 40 meetings, conferences, and workshops organized by NGOs in Phnom Penh. Our staff also held discussions with several local NGOs on the tribunal and provided advice and assistance to them. A few of the NGOs we worked with included ADHOC, LICADHO, OSJI, PACT, CCHR, CSD, CCFE, KID, and OFC. In addition, we implemented the Victims of Torture Project with TPO, and received assistance from it, Licadho, PADEC, and PED in distributing the Center’s monthly magazine.


Endowment. On August 30, 2005, DC-Cam Director Youk Chhang signed an agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) establishing a permanent endowment for the Center.  The endowment is a $2 million gift from the American people to allow DC-Cam to maintain its efforts promoting historical awareness and accountability for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge era.


Mark Storella, U.S. Charge d’Affaires, stated during the ceremony that “the endowment provides further evidence of the U.S. government’s longstanding commitment to DC-Cam.”  Under the endowment agreement, DC-Cam will receive annual earnings from the principal invested.  It will use those earnings to support its core activities and fund specified program costs.  


As a witness to the signing ceremony Jonathan Addleton, USAID Mission Director, stated that “of all the civil society organizations supported by USAID, DC-Cam is one that we envision will remain serving forthcoming generations twenty, fifty or one-hundred years into the future. We sincerely hope that this Endowment will help DC-Cam obtain their vision of a permanent center.” 


The amount of support the endowment will provide for our core operations will depend on economic conditions (DC-Cam is required as a condition of the endowment to invest the monies in the US financial markets). However, our financial advisor estimates that the investment will generate about $150,000 per year, which is only half of our current core expenses. Thus, having support from other donors is crucial financially, but is equally crucial for us to be able to maintain our independence. We wish to encourage donors from other countries to also be part of the endowment of a permanent center.


8.      Challenges


8.1       Translation Capacity

With the addition of a new staff member this year, we now have adequate translation capacity for the time being. Also, the Cambodian Royal Government Task Force began a nationwide recruiting campaign for translators to work at the tribunal. This should ease the anticipated translation burden for DC-Cam. We will refer any qualified candidates we encounter to the Task Force.


8.2       Security


As the tribunal draws near, security is of concern. To protect our data and computer system, we separated our computers with access to the Internet from those we use for normal office work. To protect our documents, we sent copies of our microfilms to Rutgers University. Our original documents are stored in water- and fire-proof cabinets. All of our male team leaders are required to stay at the Center one night per week in order to improve security.


In addition, we were able to identify the sources of indirect threats DC-Cam received in 2005 and reported on them to the appropriate institutions.


8.3       Public Outreach


Many NGOs in Cambodia are working on programs related to the Khmer Rouge tribunal. This will produce challenges in term of maintaining accurate information for the public. DC-Cam is investigating the best methods of ensuring the integrity of information to the public.