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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro