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Plans for Cambodian Genocide Institute Move Forward

The website of the Sleuk Rith Institute.
The website of the Sleuk Rith Institute.

The Documentation Center of Cambodia, a key research facility for the atrocity crimes of the Khmer Rouge, says it is ready to move forward with plans to build a genocide institute that will be the first of its kind in Asia.

The school, named the Sleuk Rith Institute, will offer graduate-level studies of genocide, conflict and human rights for Cambodians and foreign students alike, aiming to contribute to the prevention of genocide and the promotion of reconciliation.

The facility will include a school, a policy research center and a museum.

The school’s director, Dy Khamboly, told VOA Khmer the institute will focus on genocide around the world, not just the crimes perpetrated by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge.

“This is an advanced institute in Asia. It will make a contribution to the prevention of genocide, reconciliation and remembering genocide because Cambodia has gone through a genocide during the Khmer Rouge regime," said Khamboly.

Sleuk Rith founder Youk Chhang, who is also head of the Documentation Center, says the institute will offer curriculum that will analyze the history of genocide and crimes against humanity.

“I’m committed to turning the legacy of the Khmer Rouge into the Sleuk Rith Institute, to achieve international status as one of the leading global human rights and genocide education institutes of the 21st century,” he said.

The institute will allow students and scholars to meet with victims of the regime and to visit crimes sites during their studies.

The school’s programs will be taught by staff at the Documentation Center, who have already obtained university degrees in teaching. In addition, because of its cooperation with 67 universities and colleges in the U.S., Europe and Asia, the school plans to invite professors and experts on genocide to help teach, as well.

Approved by the government in July, the institute will take three years to build. But a three-month program will begin next year via the Documentation Center.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.