Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Yale Genocide Program investigated over embezzlement

Yale Genocide Program investigated over embezzlement

Yale Genocide Program investigated over embezzlement

THE US State Department is investigating the Cambodian Genocide Project (CGP) at

Yale University over allegations of embezzlement and/or mismanagement of grant funds,

according to documents seen by the Post.

"We have... received other information regarding this matter and following a

preliminary inquiry, our office has opened an investigation of the CGP," wrote

the State Department's Inspector General Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers July 2 in response

to an inquiry from US Congressman Tom Campbell.

In a May 5 letter sent to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Campbell wrote:

"... the basis of the allegations concern its director, who took a leave of

absence in January 1997, right after this project received a two year, $1 million

grant from the Department of State. This director, however, is still receiving his

salary... and continues to exercise fiscal and personnel powers."

The director in question is noted Cambodia scholar Dr. Ben Kier-nan, who was unavailable

for comment at press time and whom sources say is unreachable by phone in either

Ireland or France.

Former CGP Program Manager Craig Etcheson, when asked if he knew of any embezzlement

or mismanagement of CGP funds, replied "No". Etcheson resigned from the

CGP on Dec 1, l997 and declined comment on any aspect of his resignation or of the

CGP.

The CGP was set up in 1994 with an initial grant of $500,000 from the US government.

The program was to collect and study information related to Pol Pot's regime, make

the information available to a tribunal or truth commission willing to prosecute

Cambodian war criminals and generate a critical understanding of genocide.

In 1996 the CGP applied for another $998,361 from the State Department which was

awarded for the period April 1, l997 to Sept 30, 2001. The funds were to be used

by both the CGP and the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), an entity set

up by the CGP and spun off last year as an independent Phnom Penh-based NGO. Other

funds donated to the CGP include a $250,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation,

two grants totalling $240,087 from the Dutch government, and grants from the Mellon

Foundation, the Open Societies Institute and the Norwegian government.

The CGP and DC-Cam have collected over 100,000 pages of documents on the Khmer Rouge.

Several scholars say the documents are an unparalleled collection of information

on the DK regime, one which will prove to be an invaluable resource for many years

to come. The CGP's 1996 grant request to the State Department says the DC-Cam "now

has the best collection of Khmer Rouge archives in the world". However, there

has been debate whether the CGP has discovered concrete evidence which could be used

to convict surviving Khmer Rouge leaders of crimes against humanity.

Spokespersons at the CGP at Yale and the State Department were not available for

comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia