Memories of violence, suffering and atrocities in Cambodia are today being pulled in different directions. A range of transitional justice practices have been put to work in the name of redressing, restoring and renewing memory. At the centre of this stage is the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a hybrid tribunal established to prosecute the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, under which 1.6 million Cambodians died of hunger or disease or were executed.
This book unpicks the way memory is reconstructed through appeals to a national memory, the legal reframing and coding of memories as crimes, and bids to locate personal memories within collective biographies. Analysing the techniques and interventions of the ECCC, as well as exploring the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the book explores the relationships in which Cambodian communities navigate memories of political violence. This book is essential for understanding transitional justice in Cambodia in, and beyond, the courtroom. Transitional Justice and Memory in Cambodia shows that the governing logic of transitional justice interventions – that societies are unable to 'deal with' memories of atrocity and violence without some form of transitional justice mechanism – neglects the complexity of memory and remembering in post-atrocity contexts and the agency of the subjects to which such mechanisms are addressed.
Drawing on documentary sources, legal transcripts, interviews and participant observation data, the book situates transitional justice processes in Cambodia within a wider context of social and cultural memory politics, examining (old and new) conflicts of memory that have emerged between the varied accounts and uses of the past that exist in Cambodia now. As such, it will appeal to students and scholars in sociology, human rights, law and criminology.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Transitional justice and memory
Chapter 3. Political violence in Cambodia
Chapter 4. Moving forward through justice
Chapter 5. Memory on trial
Chapter 6. Complementary knowledge
Chapter 7. Victims and perpetrators
Chapter 8. Beyond the tribunal
Chapter 9. Remembering the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
Memory Studies as an academic field of cultural inquiry emerges at a time when global public debates, buttressed by the fragmentation of nation states and their traditional narratives, have greatly accelerated. Societies are today pregnant with newly unmediated memories, once sequestered in broad collective representations and their ideological stances. But, the ‘past in the present’ has returned with a vengeance in the early 21st Century, and with it an expansion of categories of cultural experience and meaning. This new series explores the social and cultural stakes around forgetting, useful forgetting and remembering, locally, regionally, nationally and globally. It welcomes studies of migrant memory from failed states; micro-histories battling against collective memories; the mnemonic past of emotions; the mnemonic spatiality of sites of memory; and the reconstructive ethics of memory in the face of galloping informationalization, as this renders the ‘mnemonic’ more and more public and publically accessible.