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Site sheds light on dark days

05 khmer rouge rape
Sochan Pen, who at age 16 was raped by her Khmer Rouge cadre husband, stands in a field in Pursat province in the documentary Red Wedding. Photo Supplied

Advocates for victims of gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge regime have created the first online platform to serve as a central education tool on the subject.

With postings of documents, press releases, research and related news articles, the site, accessible at www.gbvkr.org, will also be useful as a living legacy long after the Khmer Rouge tribunal is over, said Duong Savorn, project co-ordinator with the Cambodian Defenders Project.

“Not many people have access to this information,” Savorn said. “And we also plan to upload more information like films, and other materials, whatever is possible.”

The site, launched on Friday, is the result of collaboration between the defenders project, the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization and the Victims Support Section at the tribunal.

Though gender-based violence is an umbrella term for various kinds of abuse, in Cambodia, and especially in the context of the war crimes court, it has come to broadly signify the Khmer Rouge policy of forced marriage.

At the court, 780 civil parties have been admitted for forced marriage, though the number of actual cases is probably much higher. The policy, which forced men and women into communal ceremonies, often involved mandatory consummation.

Hopes the charges will come up in court have dwindled since judges split the current trial, Case 002, into mini-trials, a decision confirmed Friday. The website takes note of that concern.

“Due to problems with funding, the age of the defendants, and the speed of proceedings, it is unclear if and when the other segments will be heard.”

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