World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Cambodia’s Experience with Genocide And Reconciliation

Cambodia’s Experience with Genocide And Reconciliation Highlighted at UN-Backed Panel Discussion

New York, Oct 12 2012 6:10PM Cambodia’s efforts to deal with genocide and war crimes and its current efforts towards reconciliation were highlighted at a United Nations-backed panel discussion examining the issues that led to mass murder during its Khmer Rouge regime era.

“It can be argued that the development of individual criminal responsibility, like we saw in the case of Duch [Kaing Guek Eav], for perpetrators of genocide and war crimes and crimes against humanity has been one of the major legal developments of the last 60 years which began with the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals,” the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Stephen Mathias, told the event, referring to the former head of a notorious Khmer Rouge detention camp who was sentenced to life in prison following convictions on war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Held on Thursday evening at Rutgers University in the US state of New Jersey, the event – centred on the panel discussion and a documentary film screening – was organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, part of the UN Department of Public Information, and the Rutgers University Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights and the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

In addition to the broader genocide and war crimes issues, the panel also explored the role of the United Nations in Cambodia and the impact of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) – the first tribunal ever held in the country where the atrocities where committed. Audience members also heard of the efforts of the Documentation Center to preserve memories and seek justice.

The panel discussion involved Mr. Mathias; Benny Widyono, a former representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cambodia; Professor Alex Hinton, the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights; Samphoas Huy, a representative of the Documentation Center of Cambodia; and Andi Gitow, a UN television producer who co-produced ‘Cambodia: A Quest for Justice,’ a documentary film on Mr. Kaing.

Mr. Kaing headed the Toul Seng security prison, also known as S-21, in Phnom Penh, where numerous Cambodians were unlawfully detained, subjected to inhumane conditions and forced labour, tortured and executed in the late 1970s. A minimum of 12,272 people died at S-21 over a period of three years.

As many as two million people – one-quarter of Cambodia’s then-population – are thought to have died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979, which was then followed by a protracted period of civil war in the South-East Asian country.

Through the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT), the world body has been assisting the ECCC – a hybrid court set up after a 2003 agreement between the UN and the Cambodian Government – try cases of mass murder and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime.

“One of the principal tasks of the Office of Legal Affairs at the UN is to insist that accountability follows serious international crimes like those that were committed in Cambodia,” Mr. Mathias told the gathering. “And the Secretary-General of the United Nations is at the forefront of the efforts of the United Nations to ensure that impunity is not tolerated.”

In describing her approach to making ‘Cambodia: A Quest for Justice,’ Ms. Gitow said that it was important to report on the facts and provide many perspectives, while always remaining sensitive to the impact it has on the survivors who appear in the film and others who have experienced the trauma.

In her remarks to the event, the manager of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Kimberly Mann, emphasised the importance of prosecuting the perpetrators of genocide and war crimes in furthering reconciliation efforts in the country.

The Outreach Programme’s activities include producing online and print educational materials, holding seminars and exhibitions, screening films and the holding the annual worldwide observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on 27 January each year.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Cyclone Pam Drives Up Contraceptive Demand In Vanuatu

UNFPA Pacific, Port Vila, Vanuatu (March 31, 2015) - Katherine Silas grimaces but one is not entirely sure if it is in response to pain or merely the sight of the needle being used to implant the long-term contraceptive, jadelle, a week after Cyclone ... More>>

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Guinea Reports Highest Weekly Ebola Case Total This Year

Guinea reports highest weekly Ebola case total so far this year, new UN data shows More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news