French Embassy Seeks Khmer Rouge Memorial

A French Embassy delegation on Tuesday met with Phnom Penh City Hall officials to discuss the construction of a statue or stupa to commemorate the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime as part of reparations for civil parties to the war crimes tribunal, officials said.

Alain Fortin, first counselor and deputy head of the French Embassy mission in Cambodia, led the delegation to meet with Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong to discuss the finer details of the proposed project.

“City Hall agreed to the request, but the working group at City Hall has to learn more about it first, before providing an actual location,” municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said.

“Mr. Socheatvong told Mr. Fortin that City Hall would hold a meeting about this case and send the request to the government at a later stage,” he said, adding the size of the stupa, if that is the final design, has yet to be decided.

Nicolas Baudouin, the French Embassy’s first secretary, said the embassy would provide funding for the project, which is one of a number of Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal-mandated reparations projects for victims and survivors of the regime.

“We had this meeting this morning to discuss this reparation project, which is listed among the different reparation projects, and the final argument that has been submitted by civil party lawyers for Case 002,” Mr. Baudouin said.

“It is true that the plan is to have it close to, or in the vicinity of, the French Embassy.”

During and after the evacuation of Phnom Penh by Khmer Rouge forces in April 1975, the embassy and its compound became a refuge for a large number of foreigners and Cambodians. The Khmer Rouge forced the Cambodians to leave the embassy before allowing the remaining foreigners to leave the country on trucks that transported them to the Thai border.

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