Cambodian Genocide Program
The CGP, 1994-2019
The Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979, in which approximately 1.7 million people lost their lives (21% of the country’s population), was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. As in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian genocide, in Nazi Germany, and more recently in East Timor, Guatemala, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot combined extremist ideology with ethnic animosity and a diabolical disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale. On July 18, 2007, Cambodian and international co-prosecutors at the newly established mixed UN/Cambodian tribunal in Phnom Penh found evidence of “crimes against humanity, genocide, grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, homicide, torture and religious persecution.” On November 16, 2018, the Cambodian and international judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) ruled that the former Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot had perpetrated genocide in Cambodia while it held power during 1975-1979. The court convicted Pol Pot’s former deputy, Nuon Chea, and the Khmer Rouge regime’s head of state, Khieu Samphan, of genocide of the ethnic Vietnamese minority of Cambodia, and also convicted Nuon Chea of genocide of the country’s Cham Muslim minority. Both men were also convicted of extermination and various other crimes against humanity, and were sentenced to life imprisonment. These convictions mean that most of the surviving top leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge) regime have now been jailed, prosecuted, or convicted of crimes they committed when in power in 1975-79. Two died in prison awaiting prosecution or during their trial, but three survived to face judgement and are now serving life sentences.
Since 1994, the award-winning Cambodian Genocide Program, a project of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, has been studying these events to learn as much as possible about the tragedy, and to help determine who was responsible for the crimes of the Pol Pot regime. In Phnom Penh in 1996, for instance, we obtained access to the 100,000-page archive of that defunct regime’s security police, the Santebal. This material has been microfilmed by Yale University’s Sterling Library and made available to scholars worldwide. As of January 2008, we have also compiled and published 22,000 biographic and bibliographic records, and over 6,000 photographs, along with documents, translations, maps, and an extensive list of CGP books and research papers on the genocide, as well as the CGP’s newly-enhanced, interactive Cambodian Geographic Database, CGEO, which includes data on: Cambodia’s 13,000 villages; the 115,000 sites targeted in 231,00 U.S. bombing sorties flown over Cambodia in 1965-75, dropping half a million or more tons of munitions; 158 prisons run by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime during 1975-1979, and 309 mass-grave sites with an estimated total of 19,000 grave pits; and 76 sites of post-1979 memorials to victims of the Khmer Rouge.
To examine these, and other information we have discovered, click on one of the links on the sidebar.
For a more detailed introduction to the CGP, click here.
Yale assistance to Documentation Center of Cambodia, 1995-2005 (DC-Cam).