Documentation Center of Cambodia

  Click on PDF to download    


Victims and Perpetrators:
The Testimony of Young Khmer Rouge Cadres at S-21

Meng-Try Ea and Sorya Sim



76 pages in English, 150 pages in Khmer

A note on the Front Cover Photo


In Democratic Kampuchea’s Region 31, the Khmer Rouge



recruited children to serve as guards, “catchers,” and animal husbandry workers in Tuol Sleng Prison (S-21). This monograph explores how these and other Cambodian youth were forced to become Khmer Rouge cadres, how they were indoctrinated in the ideology of Democratic Kampuchea, how they were affected, and the violation of their rights.


The authors used Khmer Rouge biographies and interviews with 73 people to collect information on these youths. Eighteen of those interviewed were Khmer Rouge cadres at S-21, 22 are family members of deceased S-21 cadres, and 33 are survivors of the regime. The authors conclude that these children were victims as well as perpetrators.


Funding provided by the Human Rights Project Funds of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom through the British Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the Government of Norway.





Genocide Justice for the Cham Muslims under Democratic

Osman Ysa



140 in English, 205 pages in Khmer


This monograph explores the genocide of the Cham ethnic group,



making a case that the Cham, who are Muslims, were killed a rate that was nearly double to triple that of the general Cambodian population during the Democratic Kampuchea regime. It provides evidence showing that the Cham comprised 10% of Cambodia’s population prior to 1975 (about 700,000 people), but numbered only 200,000 after the regime fell in 1979.


The author presents case studies of 13 Cham prisoners at S-21 (7 Khmer Rouge soldiers, 2 Lon Nol government officials, a student, a fisherman, a peasant, and an interrogator at S-21), all of whom were executed at the prison.


Funding provided by the Human Rights Project Funds of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom through the British Embassy, Phnom Penh.




The Khmer Rouge Division 703:

From Victory to Self-Destruction

Vannak Huy



202 pages in English, 250 in Khmer



One of the most favored of the Khmer Rouge’s nine military divisions, Division 703 was composed of 5,000 to 6,000 peasants,



primarily from Kandal province. At the end of 1975, its soldiers with “clean” backgrounds were given positions at Tuol Sleng (the central-level prison also known as S-21) or its branch office S-21D (Prey Sar prison) and various government offices. At least 567 of these men were later branded as “enemies” of the regime and executed at S-21.


This monograph examines the careers of 40 soldiers who worked in Division 703. Most of those who survived the 1979 defeat of the Khmer Rouge returned to their villages in the early 1980s, often after spending time in prison as a result of their involvement with the regime.


Funding provided by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.




Seven Candidates for Prosecution:

Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge

Stephen Heder and Brian Tittemore



153 pages in English (executive summary in Khmer)

247 pages in Japanese Language



This study examines the responsibility of seven senior officials for

  their roles in developing and implementing the murderous policies of the Communist Party of T Kampuchea (CPK), known to its enemies as the “Khmer Rouge”:  


Deputy Secretary of the CPK Central Committee Nuon Chea, who is implicated in devising and implementing the Party’s execution policies.


Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and Central and Standing Committee member Ieng Sary, who repeatedly and publicly encouraged and facilitated arrests and executions within his ministry and throughout Cambodia.


Democratic Kampuchea State Presidium Chairman Khieu Samphan, who encouraged lower-level CPK officials to perpetrate executions and, at least in some instances, monitored and contributed to the implementation of Party policies by regional authorities.


Zone Secretaries and Central Committee members Ta Mok and Kae Pok, who directed or otherwise facilitated their subordinates’ arrests of suspected traitors in their zones, and failed to prevent or punish atrocities perpetrated by their subordinates.


CPK Military Division Chairmen Sou Met and Meah Mut, who played direct roles in the arrest and transfer of cadre from their divisions for interrogation and execution, and failed to prevent or punish atrocities perpetrated by their subordinates.


While extensive work has been done to document and analyze evidence of CPK crimes generally, this is the first comprehensive legal analysis of available evidence against specific individuals for international crimes. Heder and Tittemore also shed new light on how the CPK designed and implemented the CPK’s policies of mass execution.


Funding provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the OSI Development Foundation (a Swiss charitable foundation).




Reconciliation in Cambodia

Suzannah Linton



274 pages in English (executive summary in Khmer)


For the first time, Cambodia’s struggle to deal with its tragic past

is put into global context through an examination of the growing



of literature in this area, and comparisons with the experiences of such countries as Chile, Argentina, Rwanda, South Africa, and East Timor. The heart of this study is analysis of the extensive data collected by DC-Cam’s magazine, Searching for the Truth, in the course of a public survey of its Cambodian readers in 2002. The author provides insight into the attitudes and perceptions of ordinary Cambodians on a range of issues relating to the Khmer Rouge: accountability, revenge, forgiveness, reconciliation, and their vision for the future.


Funding provided by the OSI Development Foundation, the United Kingdom, US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Sida (Sweden).



154 pages in English

180 photographs

Stilled Lives:

Photographs of the Cambodian Genocide


Wynne Cougill with Pivoine Pang, Chhayran Ra, and
Sopheak Sim





This book contains photographs and essays on the lives of 51 men and women,


who joined the Khmer Rouge during the 1960s and 1970s. They were what the Khmer Rouge called “base people”: those from the peasant class who generally were treated less harshly than the “new people” (city dwellers and those associated with the former Lon Nol regime). The people profiled here served the Khmer Rouge as farmers, soldiers, security personnel, or cadres (those with some degree of command responsibility). Although most Cambodians view the former Khmer Rouge as cruel and sometimes evil, this book shows that they and their families faced the same struggles and hardships as their victims, and points to our common humanity.


Funding provided by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


The Chain of Terror:

The Khmer Rouge Southwest Zone Security System

Meng-Try Ea



150 pages in English


The Khmer Rouge security (prison) system was set up at virtually every political level throughout Democratic Kampuchea. This

monograph examines the structure of the security system in the regime’s Southwest Zone, which was considered a model for therevolution, but contained over 250 security centers (DC-Cam has located over 6,000 mass grave sites in this zone). It examines the execution chain at the subdistrict, district, region, and zone levels, and the relationships of the centers within the zone.

Funding provided by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through The Asia Foundation.


Tum Teav:

A Translation and Analysis of a Cambodian Literary Classic

George Chigas



252 pages in English


Tum Teav is the tragic love story of a talented novice monk named Tum and a beautiful adolescent girl named Teav. Well known

throughout Cambodia since at least the middle of the 19th century, the story has been told in oral, historical, literary, theatre, and film versions. This monograph contains the author’s translation of the Venerable Botumthera Som’s version. It also examines the controversy over the poem’s authorship and its interpretation by literary scholars and performers in terms of Buddhism and traditional codes of conduct, abuse of power, and notions of justice.


Funding provided by NZAID (New Zealand).


The Cham Rebellion

Survivors’ Stories from the Villages

Osman Ysa



184 pages in English


In October 1975, two Cham Muslim villages in Kampong Cham province staged brief and ill-fated rebellions against their

oppressors, who had banned the practice of Islam. Armed with swords, knives, sticks, stones and two guns, they killed a member of the subdistrict committee and the chief of the district youth group. After the rebellions were put down, the survivors were deported to malarial areas, imprisoned, or executed. Only about 10 percent of these villages 8,000 people survived the regime.


Funding provided by NZAID (New Zealand).


The Khmer Rouge Tribunal

John D. Ciorciari



201 pages in English


Between April 1975 and January 1979, the radical Khmer Rouge regime subjected Cambodians to a wave of atrocities that left over one in four Cambodians dead. For nearly three decades, call for

justice went unanswered, and the architects of Khmer Rouge terror enjoyed almost unfettered impunity. Only recently has a tribunal been established to put surviving Khmer Rouge officials on trial. This edited volume examines the origins, evolution, and feature of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It provides a concise overview of legal and political issues surrounding the tribunal and answers key questions about the accountability process. It explains why the tribunal took so many years to create and why it became a “hybrid” court with Cambodians and international participation. It also assesses the laws and procedures governing the proceedings and the likely evidence available against Khmer Rouge defendants. Finally, it discusses how the tribunal can most effectively advance the aims of justice and reconciliation in Cambodia and help to dispel the shadows of the past.


Funding provided by Switzerland, The Netherlands, and United States.


Stories from Cambodia’s New People under
Democratic Kampuchea
Pivoine Beang and Wynne Cougill

143 pages in English; 200 pages in Khmer


For centuries, Cambodia’s rural peasants had lived in modest circumstances with few entitlements, while the country’s tiny urban elite enjoyed more opportunities and privileges. But in April 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, they reversed this social order.

Hundreds of thousands of city dwellers were evacuated to the countryside, where they were forced into hard labor. Despised by the peasants and Khmer Rouge cadres alike, these “new people” were viewed as parasites and imperialists, and their rights and privileges were removed. As many as two-thirds of them were executed or died as a result of starvation, untreated diseases, or overwork.

In this monograph, 52 new people who survived Democratic Kampuchea tell their stories and those of their loved ones under the Khmer Rouge.

Funding provided by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) with core support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).





128 pages

Night of The Khmer Rouge:

Genocide and Justice in Cambodia

Depicting Torture and Genocide:

Documentation Center of Cambodia and Rutgers

University’s Photo Exhibition on the Khmer Rouge

Alexander Hinton

Jorge Daniel Veneciano

Youk Chhang


The task of preserving the memory of a horrific past is both difficult and necessary. Rutgers University located in New Jersey, America has accomplished this very task with their recent photo exhibition titled, “Night of the Khmer Rouge: Genocide and Justice in Cambodia” displayed at the Paul Robeson Gallery. The graphic photos tell a frightening story of what humanity can do to itself. The most ghastly chapter of Cambodia’s history began on April 17, 1975 when Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge forces stormed victoriously into Phnom Penh after years of civil war. Their victory meant the implementation of a radical social and economic plan that would transform Cambodia into a self-sufficient socialist society. The new government was called Democratic Kampuchea. Labeling their plan a failure is a gross understatement.

The terror and killing that enveloped Cambodia during the government of Democratic Kampuchea lasted under fours years and destroyed two million lives. Those who survived were left to make do in a ravaged country stripped of its schools, shops, temples, government structures, and sense of security. The photo exhibition at the Paul Robeson Gallery shed light upon the darkness that overcame Cambodia. In particular, attention is focused on the highest level security prison then known by its code name, S-21. Prisoner photographs taken at S-21 disturbingly reveal young faces, some as young as five years old. Immediately one wonders how a child could be a prisoner of S-21 which was intended for serious political offenses, but then again the Khmer Rouge considered a starving person “stealing” rice grains a crime worthy of execution. It has been estimated that 14,000-20,000 prisoners passed through the gates of S-21 from 1975-1979 where they died or were taken to Choeung Ek (a nearby field) for group extermination. The reflective essays at the gallery provide some understanding of what occurred inside Cambodia and the issues that face Cambodia now as it tries to reconcile with this tragic past. Together with the photographs, they expose a truth that must be told. This truth of what happened in Cambodia is now being dealt with in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) which seeks to prosecute former senior Khmer Rouge leaders. It is hoped that the legal justice delivered by tribunal will help Cambodia commence genuine healing and reconciliation. DQK.

Shown at Rutgers’ Paul Robeson Gallery in Newark, New Jersey from January 16 to February 22, 2007, this exhibition featured photographs from Democratic Kampuchea held in DC-Cam’s archives.

Funding for the exhibition and catalogue was provided by the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, the US Agency for International Development, the Swedish International Development Agency, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, the Cultural Programming Commission of Rutgers-Newark, and the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education.



A History of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979)


Khamboly Dy



73 pages in English. 100 pages in Khmer





Chinese diplomat Chou Ta-kuan gave the world his account of life at Angkor Wat eight hundred years ago. Since that time, others have been writing our history for us. Countless scholars have examined our most prized cultural treasure and more recently, the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. But with Khamboly Dy’s A History of Democratic Kampuchea, Cambodians are at last beginning to investigate and record their country’s past. This new volume represents two years of research and marks the first such text written by a Cambodian.


Writing about this bleak period of history for a new generation may run the risk of re-opening old wounds for the survivors of Democratic Kampuchea. Many Cambodians have tried to put their memories of the regime behind them and move on. But we cannot progress — much less reconcile with ourselves and others — until we have confronted the past and understand both what happened and why it happened. Only with this understanding can we truly begin to heal.


Intended for high school students, this book is equally relevant for adults. All of us can draw lessons from our history. By facing this dark period of our past, we can learn from it and move toward becoming a nation of people who are invested in preventing future occurrences of genocide, both at home and in the myriad countries that are today facing massive human rights abuses. And by taking responsibility for teaching our children through texts such as this one, Cambodia can go forward and mold future generations who work to ensure that the seeds of genocide never again take root in our country.


Youk Chhang


Documentation Center of Cambodia

The text was submitted to the Government Working Commission to Review the Draft of the History of Democratic Kampuchea. On January 3, 2007, the Commission decided that, “the text can be used as a supplementary discussion material (for teachers) and as base to write a history lesson for (high school) students.

Funding for this project was generously provided by the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute (OSI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Support for DC-Cam’s operations is provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).




Winds from the West:

Khmer Rouge Purges in the Highlands of Mondul Kiri

Sara Colm and Sorya Sim

(to be printed in 2007)


179 pages in English.


The authors examine the Khmer Rouge’s purges in Democratic Kampuchea’s Region 105 (present-day Mondul Kiri province).

The monograph begins by exploring the social and political co-existence of the Khmer Rouge and the region’s highlanders, and how that relationship soured when the Khmer Rouge imposed communal living, work, and purges, practices that had a devastating impact on traditional highlander culture.

Funding provided by the Human Rights Project Funds of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom through the British Embassy, Phnom Penh (for research) and the Government of Sweden (for publication).