A Study of Victims Stories, Confessions, and Biographies
The Victim History Project is a project dedicated to correlating information about victims, spread out over various archives, databases, histories and stories, into a single book that memorializes the persons who lost their lives. This book would reflect the first attempt to inscribe the names of the dead and their stories into a history book, so that the victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide are remembered and heard as individual persons, rather than as categories of people or numbers. In addition to names and known biographical information of each individual, the project will include basic information relating to the Khmer Rouge history, its security apparatus, its rise and its demise. It will also discuss concepts relating to disappearance and its impacts on psychological well-being of survivors today. This book is a critical supplement to the work of the Extra-ordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) by focusing on the circumstances associated with individual victims caught up in these events. This project will seek to describe individual victimhood, bringing solace to the families of victims who never understand what happened to their loved ones. Just as the ECCC seeks to achieve some semblance of closure for victims as to what happened, why, and who was responsible, this project will achieve some semblance of closure for individual victims and the thousands of families who have never understood the true circumstances of their loved one’s lives and death. Expected outputs: 1.Book of Memory, 2.Distribution ceremony. Direct Beneficiaries: 3,900 Victims’ family members.
Victims of Torture
A range of affective conditions, including trauma, is the legacy of recent political conflicts, twenty years of civil war, the massive atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge years, and the grave social and economic problems faced by thousands of Cambodians on a daily basis. DC-Cam and the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) are working together to implement the two-year Victims of Torture (VOT) Project, which was designed to address the trauma experienced by both the victims and perpetrators of the Khmer Rouge.
Our work was initially conducted in Takeo and Kandal provinces, both of which contain a large proportion of victims of the Khmer Rouge. Of historical importance, both provinces were under the control of Ta Mok (the head of the Southwest Zone during Democratic Kampuchea and a candidate for prosecution under the Khmer Rouge tribunal). This, plus the significant numbers of mass graves and prisons these two provinces, provides strong evidence of large-scale human rights abuses, including torture. We subsequently added the pilot area of Koh Sla in Kampot province to the project. The majority of survivors in this region were Khmer Rouge soldiers. In addition, Koh Sla is located in the former West Zone, a highly controlled area under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Using the skills they have gained from TPO training and standardized questionnaires, DC-Cam staff members identify clients for TPO. After we identify individuals suffering from PTSD but prior to counseling, TPO assesses their mental health status, levels of functioning, and distress levels using standardized questionnaires such as the WHO-Disability Assessment Schedule 12.
Counseling began in January 2005. Each client’s history will be recorded and kept in confidential files by TPO therapists. At the end of the project, TPO will conduct an evaluation and write up the results in a report.