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  • Author or Editor: Anne-Laure Porée x
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Abstract

Testimonies on the period of Democratic Kampuchea abound, and no other place than S-21 has such a large number of accounts written by survivors. This chapter explores the memoirs of six of them, initiated by outsiders and written in different contexts. Two have never been published and have been kept in Tuol Sleng’s archive. Three were produced in collaboration with researchers and journalists and written in English for an international audience. The collaboration to revive the memory of survivors (with the support from NGOs) was central to shaping the narratives on S-21. Memories vary according to the age of the former detainee, the length of detention and the tasks of the prisoners put at work there. The specificity of these books is also that they were produced in Cambodia and that the majority are only available in the country, especially in the museum where the last three survivors sell them every day. This chapter discusses the construction of the S-21 survivors’ narratives and the evolution of the memoirs over time. It offers new perspectives on their testimonies and the way they shape our understanding of S-21.

In: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
A Multifaceted History of Khmer Rouge Crimes
Established in 1979 in the premises of the Khmer Rouge prison S-21 in Phnom Penh, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (TSGM) has had a turbulent history, mirroring Cambodia's social and political transformations. The book brings together academics and practitioners from multiple fields who offer novel perspectives and sources on the site and reflect on the challenges the institution has faced in the past and will face in the twenty-first century as an archive, heritage, and education site, especially with the coming of the post-justice era in the country.
In: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Abstract

In this interview, conducted in August 2022, former Senior Assistant Prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) Helen Worsnop describes different aspects of Case 001, Case 002, and Case 003 in relation to S-21. She explains the role of the security center in Democratic Kampuchea’s repressive apparatus and the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s administrative structures. She describes the ways in which S-21 documents have been used in the trials and how, in turn, the judicial process has produced a new archive of the site. Last but not least, she elaborates on the question of victimhood and perpetration.

In: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Abstract

Rithy Panh’s documentary film S-21, the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2002), which brought together survivors and former guards, is considered as a turning point in both the study of S-21 and the representation of the Cambodian genocide. In this chapter, based on several interviews conducted between 2019 and 2022, Panh revisits his twenty-year-long working process in relation to Tuol Sleng. He talks about the importance of feeling, bodily memory, and trauma, and their key role in his cinema. Pointing to the question of epigenetics, he elaborates further on the physical and visceral transmission of trauma, and what it implies for his work of reading traces of extreme violence and what he calls ‘fossil remains’. He reflects on the human dimension of the Khmer Rouge crimes, which he addresses through his obsession for gestures, corporeal memory, and words. He also discusses the judicial experience at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC). Lastly, he examines the role of Tuol Sleng in the formation of collective memory as well as the impact of education on Cambodian society, and then opens up new perspectives regarding the production of knowledge about genocide in Cambodia.

In: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Abstract

By focusing on the civil war-era prison M-13, the aims to contribute a better understanding of the history of the Khmer Rouge in the early 1970s. M-13 was located in Kampong Chhnang province (about 100 km northwest of Phnom Penh), at the time a ‘liberated’ zone under Khmer Rouge control. Between 1971 to 1975, ‘enemies’ were detained, tortured, and possibly killed after interrogation there. M-13 is key to demonstrating that S-21 victims were not a by-product of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, but a deliberate policy of Khmer Rouge before they over Phnom Penh. The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) produced the first study of M-13 in 2003, however not a detailed one. In 2009, the case of M-13 was also raised by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in the trial of Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch, who had been M-13 commander. Yet, the information given during the hearings was confusing. The chapter combines historical and archaeological methods. It presents the three major steps of the research project on M-13 carried out by the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in collaboration with academic partners from Australia. Firstly, it describes the difficulties in finding the location of the prison. Secondly, it provides a tentative mapping of the site. Lastly, it explores the continuities between M-13 and S-21. The chapter uses a wide range of sources, including articles, books, ECCC records, and the materials coming from field research (interviews with the local community and former detainees and staff of M-13, site exploration, archaeological investigation).

In: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum