Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US meeting promotes KRT understanding

US meeting promotes KRT understanding

As the Khmer Rouge tribunal is watched with a close eye by many in Cambodia, a US city with one of the largest Khmer populations last week held a community meeting to discuss the proceedings.

A statement released by the district attorney's office in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, announced that several government and civil society figures had organised a gathering in Lowell – home to the second-largest Khmer population in the United States – focusing on the tribunal proceedings.

“Tonight’s discussion was an opportunity for the Cambodian community to hear what is going on with the trials in their native country and to continue to try to heal from the horrific events they or their family members may have witnessed or experienced,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian T Ryan said in a statement released after Thursday’s meeting.

In addition to Ryan, Rady Mom – the United States' first Khmer state representative – and representatives of mental health and immigration service organisations convened with members of Lowell’s approximately 106,000-person Khmer community to discuss the trials, the statement said.

Phillip Weiner, chief of the legal division in the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), also attended and spoke at the event.

The fact that Cambodians living abroad are interested in the goings-on of the tribunal is significant, ECCC spokesman Neth Pheaktra said in an email yesterday.

“Like their compatriots living in Cambodia, those people [living abroad] should be informed about the developments of the ECCC’s legal proceedings . . . [and] ask questions to better understand,” Pheaktra said.

“Hav[ing] a community discussion on [Khmer Rouge] history and also the work of the ECCC is very crucial for their community. Victims can share their experiences during [Democratic Kampuchea] Regime and learn about the legal proceeding against the leaders of [Khmer Rouge] Regime.”

While agreeing with the importance of Cambodians living in the US to follow the trials, independent analyst Ou Virak said many of the people who migrated from Cambodia did so to avoid reminders of tragedy.

If more Cambodians abroad had discussions like Lowell’s community meeting, Khmer Rouge victims and their families could gain more closure, he said.

“[Cambodians] in the US are pretty much trying to forget the past,” Virak said. “I think that . . . having more in-depth conversation about this will help them move on.”

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Phnom Penh eats: Homegrown veggies at Bayon Beoung Snor

​Nestled along National Road 1, Bayon Beoung Snor is a farm-cum-restaurant. The team grows their own vegetables, which they then use to whip up traditional Khmer food.

Bill Clough reflects on The Phnom Penh Post's 25 year history

The Post's publisher Bill Clough, under whose leadership the publication went from a fortnightly to a daily one, discusses his investment in Cambodia, his vision for the paper in an increasingly digital age,

People search for their names on the voter lists at a polling station in Kampong Cham’s Veal Vong commune earlier this month.

Four years ago, when the opposition snatched Kampong Cham away from the ruling party in 2013 national elections, it hinted at a deeper shift taking

Comfrel Executive Director Koul Panha speaks to the press at a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh.

As the National Election Committee launched into the recount proc