Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More names revealed

One of the victims photographed on entry into S-21 in Phnom Penh
Frickin heck, there have now been 38 Cambodians shot to death by the Thai army in the first half of this year, after they allegedly crossed the border in search of logging opportunities, most of which is for rosewood timber. Eleven deaths were reported last year but that figure has been dwarfed by the increased incidents by the Thailand border patrols, who've injured another ten and arrested 194 people. I know its a long border that runs between the two countries, around 800 kilometres, and that patrolling it must be a nightmare but by anyone's reckoning that is a high death rate between two nations who I thought were talking to each other again.

An intriguing arrival the other day at DC-Cam, the documentation center that collects evidence of the Khmer Rouge crimes committed in Cambodia during the 1970s, was a collection of 1,242 passport-sized photographs. Each picture showed a new arrival at the Khmer Rouge's notorious prison Tuol Sleng, aka S-21, and have notes scribbled on the back about each person's identity, some with dates. The cache were handed to DC-Cam by a woman who worked for the government in the decade and more after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge. Before the United Nations arrival in Cambodia in 1992 to organise elections, all government ministries were apparently ordered to destroy records of the Khmer Rouge regime. The woman chose not to burn the photos and had kept them hidden ever since. An estimated 14,000 prisoners were sent to death at S-21 but only around 5,000 photos have survived. This new set of pictures should help identify many victims and bring some closure for family members. The names of those identified will be added to a book that DC-Cam is compiling listing people confirmed to have died under the regime. It has collected nearly a million names already.

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Blogger Rattana Pok said...

I am surprised that the Phnom Penh government ordered the destruction of documents and evidences relating to the Khmer Rouge regime. It clearly shows the culpability of the crimes against humanity.

August 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM  

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