DC-CAM Appeals for the Release of Archives



Cambodia, June 12, 2013


Appeal for Donation of Archives Related to the KR and UNTAC Periods


To Whom It May Concern:


The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) respectfully appeals for the donation of archival material related to the Khmer Rouge (KR) and United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) periods.


DC-Cam is an independent Cambodian NGO originally created by Yale University scholars pursuant to the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act of 1994. It is dedicated to ensuring memory and justice in Cambodia with respect to the abuses of the infamous Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime. The Center is the largest provider of evidence to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), and it has been a pivotal stakeholder in Cambodia’s post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction efforts. As part of these efforts, DC-Cam supports a wide variety of different projects that contribute to scholarship, education, and promotion of the arts. It is through these efforts that DC-Cam has been recognized as the principal agent for all genocide education curricula in Cambodia’s public school system.


But education is only one part of Cambodia’s struggle. Poor library services and the public’s awareness and access to documents and archival material continue to be an ongoing hurdle in the country’s struggle to reclaim its cultural and historical heritage. Indeed, Cambodia has suffered decades of war, atrocity, and social upheaval that ravaged the country’s academic, scholarship, and cultural heritage systems. Even today, vast quantities of documents, photographs, film, and audio recordings remain scattered to individuals and institutions around the world. With an aim toward restoring the country’s access to these materials, DC-Cam appeals for their donation. Of course, individuals and institutions may have legitimate concerns about protecting the confidentiality of certain sources. DC-Cam is cognizant of this concern, and we believe viable solutions can always be found to such problems.


DC-Cam has been at the forefront of the effort to collect, catalogue, and publicize records related to the Khmer Rouge period, and it is a recognized leader in the overarching struggle to ensure truth, accountability, and justice in the wake of mass violence. DC-Cam appeals for the donation of archival material as part of its mission to provide Cambodians with greater access to their history by housing these archival collections within its facilities.




Youk Chhang Director,

The Documentation Center of Cambodia






Today, on the thirtieth anniversary of the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power, the Cambodian people are still awaiting justice. The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) asks that governments, organizations, and individuals help our country attain justice by providing materials they possess on the regime to the Extraordinary Chambers, which will be set up to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. These materials include documents, testimony, and other materials (such as photographs and audio recordings) from the period April 17, 1975-January 6, 1979.  In addition, we are seeking the return of important film footage taken during the Khmer Rouge regime. This body of information would make a valuable contribution to truth and justice for Cambodians by vastly enlarging the tribunal’s knowledge base.


Several governments had embassies in Cambodia during Democratic Kampuchea, while others followed events from embassies in Thailand, China, Vietnam or Laos. We hope that all these governments will search their diplomatic, military and intelligence (including signals intelligence) archives for materials that might be useful in establishing a full legal and historical accounting of the crimes committed during this period. We hope they will declassify these materials when necessary, transmit them to the Extraordinary Chambers, and make them public.


We also hope that journalists, scholars and other individuals who may be holding relevant materials will make them easily accessible to the court and the Cambodian public. DC-Cam would like to thank Dr. Steve Heder of the University of London and former Officer in Charge of the Cambodia Office of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights David Hawk for providing us with their Khmer Rouge-related files in anticipation of the tribunal. We hope others will follow their lead.


DC-Cam recognizes that people will have legitimate concerns about protecting the confidentiality of certain sources. But we believe that viable solutions can always be found to such problems.


Time is of the essence. Governments in particular should begin to gather and declassify relevant documents now so they will be ready when the tribunal is established. By doing so, those holding valuable materials can do their part to ensure that the Khmer Rouge tribunal is a fair and thorough legal process.


Youk Chhang, Director

Documentation Center of Cambodia

April 17, 2005