Sopheap Chak

Riding the wave of change in Cambodia

Khmer Rough Tribunal Will End with Unjust History

It was not surprising if foreigners could give detail of the Khmer Rough Regime while the young generation of Cambodia could not even know if this inhuman regime ever exists, so that the news of Noun Chea’s arrest is not gain much popularity among them (“Arrest Prompts Int’l News Frenzy, Shrugs at Home”, Cambodia Daily, Friday page 1). This is due to the fact that Cambodian school children are taught almost nothing about its own country’s dark period history after almost thirty years of the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge as the subject is sensitive among political groups.

Fortunately, A History of Democratic Kampuchea, written by Khamboly Dy, a Cambodian writer, provides a step toward educating the nation about the murderous regime as the Education Ministry approved the book as a “core reference” material for history textbooks but not as part of the core curriculum. Though, the scope of the textbook is limited and controversial in naming individuals involving in the regime, characterization of the massive movement against Khmer Rough, and unclear interpretation of a long-standing political debate in Cambodia over whether Vietnam liberated or invaded the country when it ousted the Khmer Rouge. Therefore, it is still skeptical for the young generation to the truth about Khmer Rouge.

At the same time, the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC, popularly known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) was hoped to bring justice, the truth, and reconciliation for the victims and survivors of the Khmer Rough. Though, it is questionable how this expectation will be met as the scope of the trial its self is limited. Only the local and few high-level leaders committed the genocide will be brought to sentence while there were other international countries and other potential criminals had involved. To what extend that the trial served as the model for independent court system as corruption and nepotism have gradually occurred almost everywhere.

Then it is still doubtful about the truth of the Khmer Rough Regime even after the Khmer Rough Tribunal has been conducted. At the same time, if the history page is ended by this tribunal, the national history will be unjust and mislead the next young generation.

It is my personal point of view as a young generation who was born far after the KR period. How is about you? What do u think?


3 Comments

  1. If the educational system cannot preserve the memory of the Khmer Rouge, perhaps the generation who lived through the genocide can recount their experiences to the present generation until the history curriculum is acceptable.

  2. I am not sure whether the trial will bring justice. But we have to wait and see if the ECCC will bring justice. Justice is definitely to define.

  3. Thanks for article. I have been google for sometime looking for this type of posting.

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