Report of the Cambodian Genocide Program, 1999-2000

Dr. Susan Cook, Director 
A Report to the Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor
U.S. Department of State
September 2000 9

1. Overview
2. Activities

A. Preservation
B. Archiving and cataloguing
C. Mapping
D. Training
E. Research and Publication
F. Computer Systems Development: the Cambodian Genocide Database and Web Site

3. Related Activities not Funded by the DRL Grant

A. International Workshop on Investigating and Prosecuting Genocide in Cambodia
B. Genocide Documentation Training for Rwandans
C. Documentation of Human Rights Violations in East Timor

4. Security
5. Development

Appendix A: Susan E. Cook: Selected publications and lectures
Appendix B: Biographical sketch of George Chigas, Research Affiliate
Appendix C: Select List of Media Contacts

A. TV and Film
B. Print Journalism
C. Broadcast Journalism


Since 1994, the Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) has been working to document war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia (1975-1979). This documentation is intended to support 1) the investigation, research, and preparation of legal cases against the individuals responsible for these crimes, and 2) the compilation of a thorough account of this period in Cambodian history. The CGP is approaching the final stages of its documentation work, and is therefore focused not only on ongoing research and activities, but also on securing the future disposition of its findings.

The Cambodian Genocide Program is based at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies in New Haven, CT, and works with partner institutions in Cambodia (the Documentation Center of Cambodia), and Australia (the School of Information Systems, Technology and Management at the University of New South Wales). All three centers continue to collaborate and lend their particular skills and resources to the CGP’s range of activities, as described below.


A. Preservation 
The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) completed microfilming the Santebalcollection of documents in 1999. This collection consists of the Khmer Rouge’s Special Branch, or Security, archives, and contains a great deal of important evidentiary material. The microfilmed collection, comprised of 115 reels of film, has been transferred to Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library, where the quality of the film has been checked, and corrected where necessary. Thirteen reels of film were re-filmed in Cambodia to improve their quality, and were sent back to Yale in April 2000. The entire set has now been completely checked for quality, and the collection is available for purchase from Sterling Library. A second master has been made and shipped to DC-Cam to enable public access without jeopardizing the originals.

DC-Cam’s subsequent microfilming activities are focused on other important collections of documents, including dossiers from the Lon Nol regime, biographical documents from Tuol Sleng prison, and the Khmer Rouge propaganda magazine “Revolutionary Flag.”

In addition, DC-Cam staff have been working to clean and preserve the original copies of documents from the Santebal collection, using a variety of preservation methods (cleaning, reinforcement, etc.) performed by professional archivists.

B. Archiving and cataloguing
The above mentioned Santebal collection has been completely catalogued at DC-Cam, with each individual document resulting in one record for the CGP’s Bibliographic database (see section on CGDB below), and each individual person mentioned in the documents resulting in a record for the Biographical database. DC-Cam has identified twelve steps in the process of creating, translating, and checking these records, upon the completion of which, the Santebal collection will have been completely processed for the purposes of this project. With at least nine DC-Cam staff members solely devoted to this task, we anticipate the completion of this project in June 2001.

C. Mapping
The CGP’s project to map Cambodia’s “killing fields” has made good progress over the past year, especially with reference to the presentation of our geographical data on the CGP website ( Researchers at DC-Cam mapped forty new genocide sites in twelve provinces of Cambodia in 1999, bringing the number of sites recorded to a total of 520. Each site is now being linked to photos, textual summaries, and to information on alleged human rights violations. The web site’s Interactive Map Server (IMS), mounted and maintained by the School of Geomatic Engineering at the University of New South Wales, allows users to create their own maps of genocide sites by manipulating additional information such as provincial boundaries, roads, and rivers. UNSW’s Dr. Helen Jarvis has provided ongoing training and assistance to DC-Cam staff in Cambodia involved with the mapping work. The CGP’s Geographic Data Consultant, Matthew Fladeland, a graduate student at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, has produced static maps of every province in Cambodia that include all the latest data on documented genocide sites. These maps are also available on the CGP web site.

D. Training
In January 2000, two DC-Cam staff members enrolled in documentation training at the School of Information Systems, Technology and Management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The training was overseen by the CGP Documentation Consultant, Dr. Helen Jarvis, while participants trained under the direct supervision of CGP Database Consultant, Nereida Cross.

E. Research and Publication
DC-Cam instituted a research department in 1999, consisting of a Director of Research, and a staff of 6-8 full-time researchers. A study entitled “The Child Cadres of S-21: the Invisible Victims of Angkar,” funded by the U.K. government and Redd Barna (Norwegian Save the Children), was completed in July 2000. Other projects currently underway include a study of women under the Khmer Rouge, a report on the persecution of ethnic Vietnamese, and a study of how the Khmer Rouge recruited members of minority hill tribes from Cambodia’s remote north east into Democratic Kampuchea. DC-Cam hopes eventually to publish these research monographs in both English and Khmer.

Dr. Helen Jarvis, Documentation Consultant to the CGP, and Nereida Cross provided assistance to the editors of Genocide in Cambodia, recently published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. This book includes the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal documents which provided the initial building blocks for the CGP’s bibliographic database (CBIB). In addition to serving as a consultant to the Cambodian government’s task force on implementing a genocide tribunal, Dr. Jarvis visited the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague in June 2000, and presented a paper entitled “Documenting the Cambodian Genocide” in Chieng Mai, Thailand, in February 2000.

CGP Director, Dr. Susan Cook, has published numerous articles, essays, and conference papers related to the Cambodian genocide (see Appendix A). In addition, Dr. Cook visited a wide variety of institutions in the U.S. and abroad to give presentations on the Cambodian genocide, and the CGP’s efforts to document it. These include Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley, the United Nations (Political Affairs Section), the National University of Rwanda, and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa.

There was extensive press coverage of the CGP’s activities in 1999-2000, including domestic and international print and broadcast media, and a number of documentary film projects. Appendix C includes a selected list of media projects in which the CGP was either consulted or featured.

The CGP hired George Chigas in July 1999 as a Research Affiliate. Chigas has produced a number of publications and reports (see Appendix B), including an overview and analysis of the Santebal collection, and a two-part article outlining the events leading up to a tribunal for Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia. Chigas is currently working on a study of the Khmer Rouge magazine “Revolutionary Flag” with a focus on the regime’s attempts to control various forms of literacy during their rule.

F. Computer Systems Development: the Cambodian Genocide Database and Web Site
During the 1999-2000 year, the CGP continued to work in partnership with DC-Cam and the University of New South Wales to add new information to the already sizable Cambodian Genocide Database. First mounted on the internet in January 1997, the Cambodian Genocide Database now includes 10,800 biographical records, 3,000 bibliographic records, and over 6,000 photographs and images, as well as information on 520 mass graves, prisons, and memorials. Served exclusively at the University of New South Wales since going “live” in 1997, the CGDB can now also be accessed via a North American server based at Yale University (

The CGDB is more effective as a research tool, due to several recent enhancements. Most notably, an integrated search mechanism was added to the on-line version of the CGDB in 1999 that allows users to simultaneously search the biographic, bibliographic, and photographic databases using key words.

An updated version of the CGDB on CD-Rom (Version 1.2) was published in August 1999. Copies have been distributed throughout Cambodia, and to select institutions in the U.S. (Copy attached)

The CGP web site ( has also been improved and updated. We recently added a “tribunal page” to the web site to highlight ongoing events surrounding the negotiations over, and implementation of, a genocide tribunal in Cambodia. In July 1999, John Bullock was hired as web site manager and information systems consultant to the CGP. Bullock, a Yale undergraduate majoring in political science, has extensive experience with databases, displaying information on the internet, as well as other aspects of programming and technical troubleshooting.

The CGP web site was named Asia Observer’s “Site of the Week” in April 2000. This award follows numerous others that have recognized the site since its inception. Columbia University et. al’s internet portal for high-end academic products,, is planning to feature the CGP website as an outstanding academic resource with a piece entitled “The Killing Fields in Cyberspace.”

In light of the anticipated completion of the CGP’s documentation work in September 2001, we have been making plans for the eventual disposition of the CGDB and CGP web site. Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library has accepted to serve and maintain the web site and database as a permanent archive of information on the Khmer Rouge regime. This transfer will require certain technical alterations to the CGDB, specifically merging the data out of the CDS/ISIS program, and into a more widely known database program.

Discussions are underway with DC-Cam and UNSW to determine future guidelines for enhancing and serving the CGDB.


A. International Workshop on Investigating and Prosecuting Genocide in Cambodia
The CGP has secured funding from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund, administered by the Yale Provost’s office, to hold a one-day workshop on the physical and electronic resources held by the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale. This workshop is aimed primarily at United Nations personnel, U.S. State Department officials, representatives of the Kingdom of Cambodia in New York and Washington, and other North American-based parties who will be closely involved with the genocide tribunal in Cambodia. The workshop will orient participants to the CGDB on the internet, the Santebalcollection on microfilm, and other documents housed at Yale. This workshop will be held in November or December 2000, hopefully after a memorandum of understanding is signed by the Cambodian Government and the United Nations.

B. Genocide Documentation Training for Rwandans
The CGP, together with the Genocide Studies Program at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, plans to sponsor an eight-week training course for Rwandan nationals on genocide documentation. Two to three Rwandans actively involved in research on the Rwandan genocide of 1994 will undergo training in New Haven in November and December 2000 to computerize data they have collected in Rwanda. We view this as a logical and important outgrowth of the CGP’s pioneering work in genocide documentation, and an important opportunity for Rwandans to maximize the limited human and financial resources available in Rwanda to consolidate all available information on the tragic events in their recent history.

C. Documentation of Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Nereida Cross and Helen Jarvis liaised with the Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists and with other academics on developing documentation of human rights violations in East Timor. The Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists has approved, in principle, funding for the development of a suite of databases utilizing the methodology of the CGDB.

In August 2000, CGP Director Susan Cook visited the Documentation Center in Phnom Penh in order to assess DC-Cam’s progress in securing its facility, its staff, and its archives (with specific reference to the “security grant” awarded to the CGP by the State Department in October 1999 for this purpose). Thirteen fire-proof cabinet [1] have been installed at DC-Cam, and now hold the Santebal archive in its entirety. An additional thirteen fire-proof cabinets have been purchased to hold additional documents (including those the center anticipates acquiring in the future), but are currently awaiting delivery to DC-Cam, as the Center presently has nowhere to put them. Other security equipment, including walkie talkies, electric locks, smoke alarms, an emergency exit door, and a secure storage facility have all been purchased and installed. Equipment that remains to be purchased and/or installed includes door alarms, bullet-proof windows, fire-fighting kits, and a surveillance camera.


In anticipation of the Program’s intended completion in September 2001 (at the end of the current State Department grant), no additional funds were solicited. In September, 1999, the CGP received an unsolicited gift of $10,000 from a Yale alumnus, Frederick J. Iseman. In January 2000, the Jocarno Fund, a family foundation in Chicago, IL, made a gift to the CGP of $3,500. In addition, the CGP received several other small, unsolicited gifts.



  • “Documenting the Cambodian Genocide: A Truth Commission on the World Wide Web” for, an academic web portal by Columbia University, London School of Economics, Cambridge University Press, et al. In Press (article attached).
  • “Documenting Genocide for Justice and Prevention” In Twenty five years after the Khmer Rouge: looking back and looking forward. Chandler, David P. and Judy Ledgerwood, eds. Southeast Asian Studies Program, Northern Illinois University. In Press.
  • “Hun Sen’s Record” (letter to the editor). Far Eastern Economic Review. June 29, 2000 (article attached).
  • Putting the Khmer Rouge on Trial” (with George Chigas). In the Bangkok PostOctober 31, 1999 (article attached).

Invited Lectures

  • “The Cambodian Genocide: Why Did it Happen?” D.L. Beckwith Middle School, Rehoboth, MA. June 7, 2000
  • “Truth Commissions in Comparative Perspective.” United Nations, Political Affairs Section, New York. April 12, 2000.
  • “The Cambodian Genocide Program: A [Virtual] Truth Commission?” Presented at conference on “Twentieth Century Genocide: Memory, Denial, and Accountability.” University of California at Berkeley. April 7, 2000.
  • “The Cambodian Genocide Program: A [Virtual] Truth Commission?” Presented at conference on “Rebuilding Societies in Transition: the Squaring of Truth Commission, Police Reform, Economic Development, and Justice.” Yale Law School. March 24, 2000.
  • “Documenting the Cambodian Genocide.” The Mid-Maine Global Forum, Waterville, ME. March 7, 2000.
  • “The Role of Ethnicity in Genocide: Cambodia and Rwanda.” Colby College, Department of Anthropology, Waterville, ME. March 6, 2000.
  • “Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Trial: Political, Legal, and Economic Considerations.” Columbia University Seminar on Southeast Asia. March 2, 2000.
  • “A Khmer Rouge Tribunal: Notes from the Field.” Orville Schell Center for International Human Rights, Yale Law School. December 3, 1999.
  • “The Ethnic Component of Genocide: Rwanda and Cambodia.” Seminar for PIER Institute on Global Issues, Yale University. July 6, 1999.
  • “Documenting Genocide: Cambodia’s Lessons for Rwanda.” Symposium on the Fifth Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, Africa Hall, UN Economic Commission for Africa. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. April 7, 1999.
  • “Documenting Politics and the Politics of Documentation.” Genocide Studies Program Sawyer Seminar Series, Yale University. April 1, 1999.


George Chigas is a Research Affiliate at the Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) at Yale University. He has a Masters degree in Asian Studies from Cornell University, and is completing a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of London. Since joining the CGP, Chigas has published the following articles:

He also gave the following presentations:

  • “Accountability and the Trial of the Khmer Rouge” at the Council on Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, Cornell University, March 31, 2000; 
  • “The Trial of the Khmer Rouge in Context” at the Harvard East Asia Symposium, Harvard University, March 4, 2000; 
  • “Justice, Cambodian Literature and the Trial of the Khmer Rouge” at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, February 28, 2000; and 
  • “The Breakdown of Cambodian Systems of Justice: Some Examples from Literature” at the Yale University Council on Southeast Asian Studies, October 13, 1999.

In June 1999, Chigas received a grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities to conduct a project entitled “Justice and Cambodia: A Collective Inquiry.” He is fluent in the Khmer language and conducted research projects in Cambodia in 1996 and 1999. Prior to joining the CGP he translated and published two bilingual volumes of Khmer poetry, Resolute Heart: Selected Writing from Lowell’s Cambodian Community, Mealea Press, 1994; and Cambodia’s Lament, Mealea Press, 1991.



  • TV Asahi, Japan. Japanese national news program called Sunday Project.” Special focus on Japanese links to Cambodian genocide. Produced by Cyg Mori & Associates. May 1999.
  • NHK-TV, Japan. Documentary Film entitled “Pol Pot, Lost Utopia. May 1999.
  • Arts & Entertainment (A&E). Documentary on “The Killing Fields for Investigative Reports series. Produced by Kurtis Productions. May 1999.
  • Media Entertainment, Inc. Documentary series entitled The Genocide Factor (to be broadcast on CNN or PBS). June 1999.
  • “Dancing Through Death.” Independent documentary on dance and the Cambodian genocide for CGP staff. Program features Thavro and Toni Phim, former CGP staff. 1999.
  • Discovery Channel. Documentary program on Angkor Wat. Produced in conjunction with Providence Pictures. June 1999.
  • ARTE (French/German cultural TV). Documentary on Cambodian genocide. July 1999.
  • 60 Minutes II, CBS News. “Getting Away with Genocide.” December 1999. 
  • The History Channel. ”Top Secret Missions of the CIA” Produced by Jaffe Productions in Los Angeles. October 2000.


  • Village Voice , NYC. Writer: Dave Tihara.
  • New York Times Magazine. Writer: David Brown.
  • Wired magazine. Writer: Jacques Leslie. Story: “Operation” November 1999. (article attached) 
  • Bangkok Post, Bangkok, Thailand. Writers: Susan Cook and George Chigas (see Appendix A and B) Story: “Putting the Khmer Rouge on Trial.” October 1999. (article attached)
  • The Nation. Writer: Jason Sokol. November 1999.
  • San Jose Mercury News. Writer: Karen J. Coates. “Voices of the dead and living demand justice.” April 2000.
  • CBS Writer: Jarrett Murphy. “Remembering the Killing Fields.” April 2000.
  • The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, MA. Writer: James Merolla. “Justice for Cambodia’s victims: Rehoboth woman collects data to Put Khmer Rouge on trial.” June 2000.
  • Far Eastern Economic Review. Writer Susan Cook (see Appendix A). “Hun Sen’s Record.” June 29, 2000 (cover date). (article attached)


  • South African Broadcasting Corporation. Journalist: Lerato Nophile. July 1999.
  • Austrian Broadcasting Corporation. August 1999.
  • British Broadcasting Corporation. Journalist: Oliver Scott. September 1999.
  • British Broadcasting Corporation. Journalist: July 2000.
  • National Public Radio. Journalist: Daniel Lovering. December 1999.
  • Channel 2 News, The Netherlands. Reporter: Tenco van der Hee. March 2000.
  • ABC News Nightline. Reporter: Madhulika Sikka. April 2000.

 The plan calls for thirty (30) fire-proof cabinets, but the number was reduced to twenty-six (26) in order to enable the DC-Cam to purchase 3-year maintenance contracts for all the cabinets.