Documentation Center of Cambodia

2006 Work Plan




As we near the end of what has been both an eventful and frustrating year at DC-Cam, we look forward continuing and broadening our work in 2006. On the plus side, DC-Cam has met most of its goals for 2005 in its current major project areas:


  • Historic documentation

  • Promoting accountability and rule of law

  • Public education and reconciliation outreach

  • Research, translation, and publication

  • Dissemination of our findings and work through our magazine and radio broadcasts.


In addition, DC-Cam has had its financial footing greatly enhanced through the generosity of the American people and their government with the establishment of a $2 million permanent endowment. This endowment will support DC-Cam’s core funding needs and enable us to work with confidence toward our goal of eventually establishing a permanent center dedicated to the memory of the Cambodian Genocide and its victims.


On a less gratifying note, events beyond our control have led to yet more delays in the establishment of a Khmer Rouge Tribunal. However, throughout 2006, we will continue our efforts to serve the needs of the Tribunal as it works toward the promotion of memory and justice in Cambodia.


This work plan consists of two parts. Part One sets forth the accomplishments of each of our projects during 2005; it also indicates whether each project’s 2005 goals were met and if not, why. Part Two presents a matrix showing our planned activities for 2006; it includes our performance indicators and annual performance targets for 2006.




DC-Cam’s 2005 activities are grouped under 15 headings: 14 are for our projects and the last covers activities involving the development of human resources and security. Where a project consists of multiple activities, those activities are sub-headed accordingly.


1. Affinity Group Project (Cross-border Cooperation). This project has resulted in the formation of an ongoing association of documentation centers from around the world – Afghanistan, Cambodia, 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. Two meetings were held in Belgrade and Phnom Penh in 2005. Further details are included in the Third Quarterly Report.


2. Books and Research Project. Activities under this project are: a) Research and Writing; b) Translation and Publication; and c) Media and Academic Outreach.


a) Research and Writing (Documentation Series/Monographs). Three new monographs were published in 2005: The Chain of Terror by Meng-Try Ea (in English and Khmer), The Cham Rebellion by Osman Ysa (in Khmer), and Tum Teav by George Chigas (in English). Our 2005 goal of publishing four new monographs was not met because several researchers were on leave pursuing advanced degrees abroad and fewer outside researchers were available than had been anticipated.


b) Translation and Publication. We translated four foreign language books into Khmer and published them in 2005: Loung Ung’s Lucky Child was translated by Rachana Phat; Elizabeth Becker’s When the War Was Over was translated by Meng Khean Thep and Irene Sokha; Ronnie Yimsut’s Journey Into Light was translated by Kok-thay Eng; and Adhemard Leclere’s Histoire du Cambodge was translated by Tep Meng Khean. In addition, Therith Chy has begun the translation of Tom Fawthrop and Helen Jarvis’ Getting Away with Genocide.


c) Media and Academic Outreach. We continued to provide extensive research assistance to Dr. Stephen Heder and Dr. Ian Harris, both of whom have been researchers-in-residence at DC-Cam for all or part of 2005. In addition, we have provided research assistance to many other individuals interested in the history of the Khmer Rouge regime. Details on this assistance are included in our quarterly reports and the quarterly English edition of Searching for the Truth.


3. Cataloguing, Data Entry, and Database Project. Activities under this project are: a) Cataloguing and Database Management, and b) Access Listing.


a) Cataloguing and Database Management. We keyed 28,365 documents in 2005, short of our goal of 31,000. The total number of documents keyed was 2,635 less than planned because one of our team members went to the UK to study while another was frequently busy with personnel from Lemon Computer Company working on the MySQL database. We catalogued 2,350 documents in 2005, or 650 more than the 1,700 planned. (Note: the 17,000 figure in the 2005 work plan was a typographic error.)


b) Access Listing. We added 57,097 documents to our Access list in 2005. While our 2005 goal had only been 4,480, six new volunteers were available and assigned to this project.


4. Document Preservation Project. Activities under this project are: a) Microfilming and b) Restoration.


a) Microfilming. We microfilmed 62,818 pages in 115 reels in 2005, or more than twice our 2005 goal of 25,000 documents. In addition, we duplicated 500 previously developed reels for deposit at our Rutgers office.


b) Restoration. Although we have been devoting significant time to the task of restoring deteriorating documents since DC-Cam began its preservation efforts, we have never reported this work as a separate activity. Our efforts have included the re-typing and duplication of fading documents. Because we expect the volume of this work to increase significantly as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal process commences, we have begun reporting it.


5. Forensics Project. The fieldwork (grave reconnaissance) for this project was completed in 2004. Our plans to publish a monograph on this project in 2005 met with unexpected difficulties, in that Michael Pollanen, the forensic scientist who DC-Cam contracted for this work, decided after completing the initial phases of the project that he could not write the agreed-upon monograph. Dr. Pollanen has informed us that he may prepare a journal article instead of a monograph or return the unearned portion of his payment.


6. Genocide Education Project. 2005 saw continued progress on our production of a high school-level history text on the Khmer Rouge. The text, which includes 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 Democratic Kampuchea (DK), is near completion.  Following a visit by historian Dr. David Chandler, the text is now reaching its seventh draft. It is also being reviewed by Professor Frank Chalk (Concordia University), Sonia Zylberberg (director of education at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and an educator from the US Memorial Holocaust Museum,) and project staff Boly Dy, who is auditing courses on genocide education at Concordia University, Canada. As an addition to this text, we have reviewed sources at DC-Cam and have selected 17 stories of victims and perpetrators, as well as accompanying songs, slogans, and other DK policy statements. Together, the text and the stories will comprise a short book to be edited, formatted, laid out with photos and other images, and be ready for publication by early 2006.  After publication, we will seek permission to meet with school teachers to present the book and seek feedback.


7. Legal Training Project. This project was successfully completed as planned between July and September of 2005. Eighty two participants attended the three ten-day defense counsel training sessions held. Further details are contained in the Third Quarterly Report.


8. Living Documents Project. The primary activities planned under this project – trial observations by selected villagers from throughout Cambodia and post-observation village forums – have been postponed due to the unexpected delay in establishing the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. In addition, the formation of our planned Tribunal Response Team will not commence until the tribunal is established.


Due to the above-noted continued delays in establishing the Tribunal, we commenced execution of our pre-trial outreach contingency plan in 2005. This consists of three activities: a) Cham Community Outreach; b) Nuns’ Peace March and Public Forums on Sexual Abuse under DK; and c) Student Outreach. Details on the progress made to date in all three activities follow:


a) Cham Community Outreach Project. Our work with Cambodia's Cham community includes an oral history project. DC-Cam designed a questionnaire with 24 questions concerning the history and experiences of Cham community members during the Khmer Rouge regime. With the participation of hakem and tuans from throughout Cambodia, 1,008 questionnaires were distributed to 336 Cham villages. To date we have received 132 completed questionnaires from 53 Cham communities in Banteay Meanchey, Takeo, Koh Kong, Kandal, Battambang, Kampot, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Cham Provinces, as well as from Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh. The responses will be used in a special edition of the DC-Cam magazine Searching for the Truth about the Cham people under DK. In conjunction with our distribution of the Cham history questionnaire, we are also distributing copies of documents related to the upcoming tribunal, including copies of the Khmer Rouge Trial Law and the Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia concerning the conduct of the trials.


b) 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 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 Khmer Rouge trials.  DC-Cam will facilitate this march with financial support for transport to and from the provinces.  Participating nuns will also assist in hosting approximately 44 public forums that will focus on sexual abuses perpetrated during the Khmer Rouge regime and their continued impacts upon society today. DC-Cam will organize at least two forums in each of Cambodia’s province. The exact locations will be determined based in part upon their proximity to known killing fields and prison sites. We also plan to document the forums with video recordings, including interviews with participants, and to produce radio broadcasts. The forums will begin in November 2005.


c) Student Outreach Groups. In the fall of 2004, 22 Cambodian student associations formed a Student Council for Justice, with the aim of planning for student participation in the tribunal process. In 2005 DC-Cam joined this student initiative and 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. Approximately 170 student volunteers were selected and trained at DC-Cam. Their training included addresses by 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, as well as visits to Tuol Sleng and the viewing of documentary films on the Cambodian Genocide. The students committed to a two-month period of voluntary service. Further training sessions included meetings with DC-Cam researchers on how to interview victims and perpetrators. To date, approximately 250 villages in 20 provinces and 3 cities have been reached by our student volunteers. During their visits, the students have recorded over 142 interviews with survivors, produced 3,463 written field reports that include the villagers’ life stories, their views on the tribunal, and lessons the students learned. 45,200 copies of project materials (e.g., Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law, KR Law Amendment, UN/Royal Government of Cambodia Agreement, introduction to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, Searching for the Truth no. 58) have been distributed to 13,100 villagers, with approximately 25,000 others having listened to the student-villager conversations.


9. Magazine Project. Both the monthly Khmer language edition and the quarterly English language edition of Searching for the Truth continued to be published in 2005. Funding to increase the number of Khmer language copies distributed was not available in 2005. The production of a quarterly magazine for the Cham Muslim community did not begin in 2005 due to a lack of information (to date, the Center has received only 132 completed questionnaires).


10. Mapping Project. This project was determined to be essentially completed in 2004; the publication of the master GIS database was completed in 2005. We plan to publish a monograph on this project in 2006.


11. Promoting Accountability Project. The activities under this project consist of: a) Promoting Accountability Interviews, and b) Developing Guidelines for Accessing DC-Cam Archival Materials.


a) Promoting Accountability Interviews. 412 interviews were conducted in 2005, significantly less than the 1,050 planned. Unexpected logistical difficulties in conducting trips to the provinces and insufficient available staff caused this discrepancy. As planned, however, interviews were conducted in five new provinces: Kandal, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng. In the third quarter of 2005, Dr. Stephen Heder started to analyze PA interview scripts with a new focus on building middle and low rank chains of command. Dr. Heder’s progress report states:

“English summaries of an additional 45 PA interviews have been completed.  These include interviews conducted in Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Kandal, Takeo, Kampot, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces.  The interviewees come primarily from military units, security forces, government ministries and hospitals in Phnom Penh.  Their testimonies make reference to potential suspects for criminal prosecution in a Khmer Rouge Tribunal, such as Nuon Chea, Ta Mok, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan, and Duch.  They add to the indications of these potential suspects’ involvement in or knowledge of international and domestic crimes within the tribunal’s jurisdiction.  They also provide additional historical and sociological information about the rise and fall of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, life and death under its rule.  They also further elucidate the experiences and attitudes of the mostly menial Khmer Rouge who are the interviewees, including their retrospective views of the Khmer Rouge regime and their hopes and fears regarding prosecution of the Khmer Rouge crimes.”


b) Access Guidelines. In order to provide the court and other authorized officials with full access to our documents, we have been working with our legal advisors to develop and issue a set of rules and guidelines for viewing them as the tribunal process begins. The guidelines are designed to ensure that our documents remain both available for review and as secure as possible. As the tribunal process unfolds, we will develop a more specific set of guidelines to ensure that we assist the proceedings as effectively as possible. We have provided copies of those procedures to the appropriate UN and Cambodian authorities. During the first quarter we updated the guidelines and sent them to our advisors for comment. In this process they are compiling and analyzing materials such as the foreseeable draft agreement between the UN and Cambodian Government, existing analysis on Archive Law, general principles of evidence concerning original documents, and ICTY’s relevant rules or document authenticity.  The team might propose to the government, the UN, or the Tribunal a draft agreement that only copies are to be used in the proceedings, if production of the original documents is not ordered. Given the recent September 2005 distribution of a proposed Draft National Archive Law, our legal experts are also examining its potential impacts on our access guidelines and will be proposing any changes deemed necessary to comport with applicable law. These guidelines are expected to be finalized during a meeting with two of our legal advisors in December 2005.


12. Public Information Room Project. During the past year over 2,000 visitors made use of the PIR. Over 6,000 pages and more than 400 photographs were copied. In addition, the PIR was the venue for much of our Legal Training Project, and was used in many other DC-Cam activities. Activities grouped under this project are: a) Photo Exhibitions; b) Film Project; c) PIR Road Trips; d) Website Development; e) Research Forum; f) Digital Photo Archives; and g) Overseas Office at Rutgers University.


a) Photo Exhibitions. We contributed photographs to an exhibition that Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation mounted at its headquarters in 2005. The exhibit, entitled “The Trauma of Terror and the Challenges of Coming to Terms with the Past,” was followed by a symposium, which was attended by DK rape survivor Taing Kim and a Cambodian Buddhist monk. A booklet accompanied the exhibition, Kambodscha 1975-2005. We also assisted the Czech Embassy in Bangkok with an exhibition at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum; it contained paintings by children from the Jewish Ghettos to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. In addition, DC-Cam mounted four photographic exhibitions at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: “The Khmer Rouge Leaders,” “Victims of History,” the “Forensic Exhibition,” and “Stilled Lives.”


b) Film Project. While no new films were produced in 2005, new filming equipment was purchased and training on filming techniques was provided under a contract with Douglass Kass from UCLA. Out of the 12 student volunteers who received this training, 3 were recruited to work on the Pre-trial Outreach Team at the end of October 2005.


c) PIR Road Trips. Due to the continued delays in establishing the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, this activity has been postponed until 2006.


d) Website Development. One of our planned website activities for 2005 – an online “chat-room” – was abandoned due to the logistical problems associated with policing the content posted to the site. A second planned website development activity – a special Cham website – has been delayed because we have not yet received sufficient feedback from the communities (in the form of the previously mentioned questionnaires). The planned redesign of our website was completed in 2005 with the exception of the installation of a new, more powerful search engine. Earlier this year international experts from our Affinity Group (see above) began assisting us in the design and development of a more user-friendly database with increased capacity and a new format/field design. A local company, Lemon Computers, began working on putting our data into the MySQL program. This process has been completed for the CGEO, CBIO, CBIB, and CTS databases. We are now in the process of having the results reviewed, and hope to give Lemon final approval by the end of calendar year 2005. The company has agreed that it will not take any reimbursement for its work until DC-Cam is satisfied with the product. This program is expected to be up-and-running on our website by January 2006.


e) Research Forum. Our essay contest in cooperation with the Khmer Writers’ Association was extended through to the end of 2005, with the winner to be announced in early 2006. 17 entries were received during FY 2005.


f) Digital Photo Archives. 115 new photographs were catalogued in 2005 and await posting on our website.


g) Overseas Office (Rutgers University). In 2005 DC-Cam donated a set of its Documentation Series, a complete set of Searching for the Truth, and some documentary films to the Dana Library at Rutgers. Sixteen senior honors students have been regularly utilizing the Rutgers Office for their class on Transitional Justice and the Politics of Memory. DC-Cam and the Dana Library also began planning a “Documentation Center of Cambodia Year” event at the Dana Library. It will include an introduction to the work of DC-Cam, a film screening, photo exhibitions, a guest speaker series, and the preservation of oral history through interviews with Americans of Cambodian descent.


13. Radio Project. During 2005 DC-Cam radio broadcast coverage was extended to all of Cambodia. In addition, an in-house recording studio was completed, greatly increasing the project’s cost-effectiveness.


14. Victims of Torture Project. 158 interviews were conducted from October 2004 through September 2005. 17 persons identified as suffering from PTSD during the interviews received counseling. The project as planned ended in 2005. We have finalized our report for submission to donors USAID and TAF. A team of experts from the USA will conduct an evaluation of the project in January 2006. Depending on the results of the evaluation, further work on this project may be planned.


15. Human and Physical Resources: Staff Development and Security. In 2005, six DC-Cam staff members were pursuing higher degrees while five others received some form of specialized training. Nine of these staff members were pursuing degrees or receiving their training abroad. Two new translation staff were added in 2005. A total of 206 Cambodian volunteers, including the students involved in our pre-trial Student Outreach Project, and 9 foreign volunteers were recruited in 2005.


With respect to security measures, we are confident of our continued good working relationship with the Ministry of Interior. In addition, all DC-Cam staff take part in maintaining security measures, including working in teams to secure the building on a continual basis.


Part Two – Matrix of Activities