“A society cannot know itself if it does not have an accurate memory of its own history.”
Located in an 18-hectare plot of land covered by numerous species of tree, beds of vegetable garden, and dotted with old and separate buildings, the Royal University of Agriculture hosted approximately 600 students from various backgrounds in a huge and nice conference hall to listen to the deputy of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) Dara P. Vanthan in the discussion, Q&A forum and an introduction to the website www.cambodiatribunal.org, which is launched to guide the students on how to use the important tools to log in, read and retrieve information about the Khmer Rouge tribunal.
Graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 2005, Mr. Vanthan showed students the information in the website such as blogs, news, multimedia, Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia & NGO report, trial proceedings, history, tribunal background, and commentary pages.
During the meeting, students voiced different views and asked several questions about the Khmer Rouge history and tribunal.
One student began by wondering why the Khmer Rouge regime ruled the country and made all Cambodians betray their consciences. Phim Meng Hak, a foundation year student, wanted an explanation as to why the Khmer Rouge needed to keep every record of each prisoner at S-21. Another foundation year student Heng Seng Pheang expressed his curiosity about whether Case 003 would be brought to trial. Mr. Vanthan responded to those questions afterwards.
Also at the conference, two documentary films were screened. One was about S-21 prison shot by the Vietnamese in January 1979 and another was DC-Cam-produced film titled “Behind the Walls of S-21: Oral Histories from Tuol Sleng Prison.” The purpose of the films, discussions, and Q&A forums were to raise awareness among university students about the proceeding at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. As more than three decades has passed, it is time that survivors and their children move forwards to more prosperous future by learning from the past and avoid the past atrocities.