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  • Author or Editor: Stéphanie Benzaquen-Gautier x
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Abstract

To this day, the trial of Pol Pot in July 1997 in Anlong Veng remains an underexplored topic, possibly because it is seen as a parody of justice organised by a rival Khmer Rouge faction. Images of the event show an old and fragile man who has to be supported by guards to the meeting hall. Drawing on anthropologist Ashley Thompson’s study of the ‘substitute body of the king’, the paper examines the corporeal strategies at play in the trial and in the display and cremation of Pol Pot’s body in April 1998. Using a range of materials (articles in media, pictures, videos, and artworks), it brings into conversation ‘forensic aesthetics’, performance theory, and contemporary visual arts to investigate the role of Pol Pot’s body as a political tool in the troubled context of post-transition Cambodia.

Open Access
In: International Criminal Law Review

Abstract

The set of visual representations mediating S-21/Tuol Sleng to the public has been constituted at an early stage, and the site itself has become encapsulated by a limited body of artifacts and images that persists until today. The construction of this visual language has not been a linear process. While some elements were there from the start, its elaboration reflects the changes that took place, in the past four decades, at TSGM itself and more broadly in the country. It is this process that the chapter proposes to unpack. More specifically, it seeks to clarify the interaction between the construction of the visual history of S-21/Tuol Sleng and the evolution of the gaze on the museum. To do so, it draws on different types of photographic operations that contributed to building a ‘portrait’ of TSGM over the years and examines the relationship between this production of images and the generation of archives. The three sections of the chapter focus on professional photographers who have been involved in the creation of the museum’s photographic portrait at different periods: Douglas Niven and Chris Riley (Photo Archive Group), Tang Chhin Sothy, and Dominique Mérigard. By discussing their work, the chapter will try to show to what extent the visual history of S-21/Tuol Sleng shapes and is shaped by changes in the mediation of Khmer Rouge crimes and their remembrance.

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

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