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Connecting the Broken Pieces after the Cambodian Genocide: Legacy as Memory of a Nation

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Uploaded on Apr 23, 2010

UC Berkeley-UCLA Distinguished Visitor from Southeast Asia

Youk Chhang, Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia

As Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), Youk Chhang leads Cambodian efforts to collect and organize data on the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge period.

The Documentation Center of Cambodia was founded shortly after the U.S. Congress passed the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act in 1994. With this legislation, the Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigation in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs was established, which then provided a grant to Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) to conduct research, training and documentation relating to the Khmer Rouge regime.

The CGP founded the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh in 1995 and DC-Cam became an independent Cambodian research institute in 1997, with Youk Chhang as its director. Since 1997, DC-Cam has continued its extensive research and documentation activities. These activities are intended both to record the history of the Khmer Rouge regime for future generations and to compile and organize information that might serve as evidence in any legal accounting for the crimes of the regime. As DC-Cam states, its objectives represent its focus on memory and justice, both of which are critical foundations for the rule of law and genuine national reconciliation in Cambodia.

Youk Chhang is a survivor of Cambodias killing fields although lost many of his family members. Eventually moving as a refugee to the U.S., he returned to Cambodia in the early 1990s to work towards reconstruction and a new life for his country. He was highlighted as one of Times Top 100 People Who Shape Our World, by Senator John Kerry.

This event was sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asia Studies

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