Khmer Rouge Victims Get Exhibit as Part of Reparations

The organization Kdei Karuna Friday launched a new traveling history exhibition on mass evacuations during the Khmer Rouge regime, one of eleven reparations projects approved by judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in August when they handed down a verdict against regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

Under new rules drafted in 2010, court-ordered reparations can be implemented by NGOs and funded by outside organizations, allowing for a far greater range of options than in the court’s first case against S-21 prison commandant Kaing Guek Eav, which left many victims bitterly disappointed when they received only one reparation: their names written in the court verdict. 

In this case, the mobile exhibition, which involves photo displays of the evacuations, documentary screenings and talks from victims of forced transfers, is being implemented by Youth for Peace as well as Kdei Karuna, and is funded by the German government. The exhibit will run until January and travel to nine provinces.

After the exhibit was presented to victims, Thou Kim, 71, said she appreciated the new initiative and thought it would help her deal with her memories of being evacuated from Phnom Penh in 1975.

“This collective and moral reparation could partly reduce my pain and suffering,” she said.

ECCC rules do not allow victims to receive monetary rewards, limiting reparations to “moral and collective” projects. However, at Friday’s event, Ung Phan, 73, said that collective reparation projects alone could not heal his suffering.

He echoed recent calls from other civil parties for victims to each receive a monetary reward of $13,500.

“We are Buddhist people so it’s very important to hold Buddhist ceremonies for dead relatives so I support the idea of individual reparations,” said Mr. Phan.

“If the Trial Chamber cannot afford to help civil parties with the $13,500 requested, this court… should reply with how much they could help us for holding Buddhist ceremonies for dead victims who died without proper clothes,” he said.

naren@cambodiadaily.com

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