TRAINING FOR UNIVERSITY LECTURERS IN CAMBODIA. EDUCATION ON THE KHMER ROUGE HISTORY IN CAMBODIA (1975-1979). Genocide Education is Genocide Prevention.
"This is a proposed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia judicial reparation project that has been developed for the benefit of Civil Parties in Case 002/02."
From 25-27 July, 2017, a third round of training will be held, hosting more than one hundred lecturers, in an intensive course on the teaching of the history of the Khmer Rouge period, known as the Democratic Kampuchea period (1975‐1979). The first two rounds consisted of five-day workshops for commune level teachers in two different provinces: Kampong Cham and Battambang.
This three-day seminar will be given to university lecturers in Phnom Penh. The Documentation Center of Cambodia’s (DC-Cam) Genocide Education Project will conduct the training and has designed it to be a transformative mechanism for memory, peace, tolerance, and reconciliation. Since its inception in 2009, the Genocide Education Project has succeeded in providing intensive training on this important historical period to approximately 3,000 teachers.
A primary mission of the Genocide Education Project is not only to piece together an accurate portrayal of Khmer Rouge history, but to promote the integration of this history into the classroom so that students may begin to explore and understand its implications for their lives today. A structured inquiry into the history of Democratic Kampuchea will ultimately yield critical lessons for an investigation into human behavior, ideology, beliefs, and justice, and will encourage learners to think about their own world views and how the past ultimately shapes the future.
By equipping educators with the teaching skills and methodology necessary to teach about genocide, teachers will successfully engage students in dialogue about their country’s complex past. Through a constructive and reflective examination of history, it is hoped that students will understand how such atrocities came to be, and how they can be prevented in the future.
Additionally, the Genocide Education Project has made extensive efforts to reach out to all spectrums of society, ranging from the military, the police, Khmer Rouge victims, and the courts. It is evident that the question of why the Khmer Rouge caused so much suffering remains the subject of critical debate, therefore; the Genocide Education Project will continue to work with the Cambodian people to search for ever more revealing responses to these vital questions.
The course will feature renowned legal and historical scholars, and incorporate interactive training sessions for attendees. Professor Son Soubert of the University of Archaeology in Phnom Penh and appointee to the Constitutional Council will speak about the genesis of the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF). Professor Ros Chantraboth of the Royal Academy of Cambodia will present and analyze the historical events leading up to the Khmer Rouge’s takeover of Cambodia. International Co-Prosecutors Nicholas Koumjian and Coman Kenny will present on the legacy of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and the important evidence of the Khmer Rouge policies established in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal case 02/002.
Also, Ambassador Dr. Julio A. Jeldres, Royal Biographer of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, will present on the foreign policy of the Democratic Kampuchea and the influence of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Finally, in coordination with the Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers Section (CPLCLS), DC-Cam has invited two Civil Parties to present their personal stories on this historical period. These influential voices represent just a few of the featured presenters who will partake in the training. Although the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown almost 40 years ago, the adverse effects of the period and the stigmatization that have consequently emerged remain prevalent in Cambodian society.
Efforts to restore a sense of humanity and to work toward a shared future are largely subject to the mercy of time. However, the Documentation Center of Cambodia believes the path to remembering this tragic past involves the regular incorporation of Khmer Rouge history in Cambodia’s educational system so that students from one generation to the next can study and remember their country’s past. This belief is expounded by the words of William Faulkner: “The past is not dead. It is not even the past.” The training for university lecturers would not be possible without the close collaboration of Documentation Center of Cambodia, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports and, in particular, without the generous support of the European Union (EU) through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Documentation Center of Cambodia is supported through long-term financial aid by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The hope is that the training will inspire the academic community to engage and intensify their critical research on this history.
BOU MENG, A SURVIVOR FROM KHMER ROUGE PRISON S-21
Bou Meng filed a Civil Party application on the basis of his detention at S-21 from mid 1977 to January 1979. Bou Meng joined the Khmer Rouge in 1970 following Norodom Sihanoukís call to join the resistance against the Lon Nol regime. After April 17 1975, he was assigned to the technical school of Russey Keo in Phnom Penh. A year later following the arrest of his superior, he was sent to a reeducation site in Kandal province. In mid-1977 he and his wife were called to "teach drawing at the Royal University of Fine Arts", but instead were arrested and transferred to S-21.
He has never seen his wife since. As a Civil Party, Bou Meng testified on the detention conditions in the "common room" of Building C where he was detained before his interrogation started. He recounted how detainees were sprayed with a hose, naked, while being mocked by guards. Bou Meng also recalled the "several months or weeks" of interrogation he endured, which left him with emotional problems and physical scarring. He told the Trial Chamber that five interrogators took turns beating him with a whip until blood "flow[ed] from [his] back" and how on one occasion torturers inflicted electroshocks near his genitals until he lost consciousness.
In late 1977 when painters were needed at S-21, he was transferred to Building E to work in the workshop and paint portraits. Bou Meng wanted to know from the Accused whether his wife was killed at S-21 or in Choeung Ek "so that [he] could collect the ashes or remains so that [he] can make her soul rest in peace". (Source: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) According to the Office of Co-Prosecutors (filed 8 June 2017), the number people who died at S-21 is 18,063 persons.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Ly Sok-Kheang Director of Anlong Veng Peace Center Documentation Center of Cambodia
P: (855) 12 570 465
Ms. Ivy Taylor DC-Cam Legal Associate Seattle University School of Law
P: (855) 85 986761
Venue: Sleuk Rith Contemporary Arts Gallery (Building H inside National Institute of Education)