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  • Publicado : 7 de marzo de 2012
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Evidence of human misery surrounds us constantly. The news and some television shows are filled with reports, often from abroad, of some fresh atrocity and disaster. And yet, if the argument of Stanley Cohen's latest book is to be believed, we as individual citizens often live in denial about the reality of suffering that confronts us. We tend to opt for a blind eye, instead of thinking about theatrocities that are presented to us. Cohen argues that denial--the process of actively ignoring the suffering of others--is endemic to contemporary society. In fact, the author goes as far as to say that passivity is more or less an enduring moral quality of all people. The author says that denying past horrors is immoral, yet collective apologies or establishing truth commission is ridiculous.Bio: Jaya Ramji holds a JD from Yale University, is the 1999-2000 Robert L. Bernstein Fellow In International Human Rights. Jaya Ramji writes about the culmination of research conducted under the auspices of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM), funded by the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University (CGP).

Truth CommissionsRamji, Jaya, (2000). Reclaiming Cambodian History: The Case for a Truth Commission. The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs Journal


Ramji’s results suggest that Cambodia would benefit greatly from an international tribunal for the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge and a truth commission for the Cambodians. Also, that only a truth commission would be able to attain Cambodia’s needs foreducation and social reconciliation. That it would accentuate the history of Cambodia. That Cambodians should be granted the right to know the truth about the atrocities that took place under the Khmer Rouge. This article investigates the findings of a survey conducted by Ramji about Cambodians on 1997. Collected via interviews, it consequently recommends a trial for top leaders and truthcommission for lesser member of the Khmer Rouge. It was created to attempt and develop a method of accountability appropriate enough to deal with the Khmer Rouge crimes. The author interviewed twenty-five Cambodians from a range of socio economic backgrounds about how they thought that the Khmer Rouge crimes ought to be punished.
The author provides a brief history on the politics that dominate inCambodia and mentions accountability mechanisms which have been used to address mass violent events in history, while examining themes derived from the interviews held. Through the analysis of these themes, the general opinion of Cambodians is suggested. (Although, despite this investigation making this claim of providing a qualitative insight into the Cambodian opinion, a sample of 25 is not tooconvincing)

With arrests of fugitive member of the Khmer Rouge regime, and the death of Pol Pot starting in 1997, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presented recommendations to aid Cambodia in their efforts to transition into a democracy and heal its people in 1999.

Jaya Ramji concludes that in Cambodia, a truth commission or aninternational tribunal would be the accountability mechanism which would best fit to the needs, influenced by the insufficient domestic judiciary capacities of the country.

There are seven themes that were derived from the conducted interviews by Jaya Ramji. These are: Peace, Full truth, determining responsibility, international actors, amnesty, reestablishing law and finally, education.

Interviews also suggests that there is an overall need for Cambodians to have a sense of accountability mechanism that can lead to the reparations of the people. With top priorities being the establishment of a stronger educational system for all and strengthening the rule of the law. Overall, this study reveals that the Cambodians lack of a common knowledge of their history, which is...
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