Covering Genocide Trials: The Discursive Position of Genocide Victims in Cambodia


In the Cambodian society victims of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979) are taking up an uncommon discursive position. Anyone that has suffered from the Khmer Rouge is considered to be a victim including former Khmer Rouge members who were brutaly disadvantaged by their own party. Within this context perpetrators can also be considered victims. For example a tortured prisoner who used to be a member of the Khmer Rouge or a former Khmer Rouge executioner who was forced to commit his crimes to escape his own death. The nuanced discourse on victims and perpetrators is in contrast with Cambodian state politics; it also contrasts with non-Cambodian discourses on victimhood that are characteristed by a sharper distinction between victim and perpetrator. A discourse analysis of interviews with participants in the __Khmer Rouge Tribunal__ (judge, lawyer, Victim Support Section staff, victims) and of an exhibition in former torture prison S-21 demonstrates this nuanced discourse.

Author Information
Rob Leurs, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2015
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies, Gender and Communication

This paper is part of the MediAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon