U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green on Genocide Convictions in Cambodia

Statement

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 
On November 16, 2018, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) convicted former Khmer Rouge senior leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan of genocide, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The court's guilty verdicts are the first official acknowledgement that the regime's crimes constitute genocide as defined under international law. Up to two million people are believed to have died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported the ECCC since its 2005 inception by assisting the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) build a publicly accessible historical record of the Khmer Rouge's atrocities. Introduced as evidence during the trials, these records were part of public-education campaigns about the Khmer Rouge period, and appear in Cambodian textbooks to educate future generations about the Khmer Rouge's crimes. DC-CAM and its founder and executive director, Youk Chhang, played a critical role in these milestone verdicts.

The arc of justice, while often long and difficult, is worth pursuing. Last week's rulings should bring hope to courageous seekers of truth and accountability in Cambodia, and in other nations that are struggling to reconcile with past atrocities. They should also send a strong warning to governments or other actors that seek to perpetrate systematic repression and violence against their people. USAID is proud of our efforts in Cambodia, and around the world, to safeguard the rights of the most vulnerable, expand access to justice, and foster more citizen-responsive governance.

Last updated: November 20, 2018

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