Transitional Justice in Cambodia: The Coincidence of Power and Principle

Tuesday 5 February 2013
17.30 - 19.30, Sir Charles Wilson Basement Seminar Rooms (E15)

Speaker: Dr Kirsten Ainley, Lecturer in International Relations, London School of Economics

More than thirty years after the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of over 1m people in Cambodia, the ECCC was established to help heal the trauma of Khmer Rouge atrocities.  The literature tends to present transitional justice processes in Cambodia as being supported by a justice-minded international community in the face of a recalcitrant domestic government that does not want to see its members implicated in legal proceedings.

The presentation will look in more detail at the international-local dynamics and argue that both the Hun Sen regime and various international actors are using the ECCC to construct an image of the past in which their contributions to injustice are forgotten. 

The liberal international community is whitewashing history with a narrative of healing, and the government is pushing a narrative of rescue.  Pressure from both sides for the Court to contribute to the work of re-writing the past means that the ECCC can offer little to the victims of atrocities in whose name it was established.  By engaging in the international-domestic political battle, the court could even be seen as contributing to the on-going victimization of those who suffered under the Khmer Rouge regime.

This lecture will conclude with a reception.  Free and open to all. 

130205 Seminar Kirsten Ainley

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