Reconciliation and perpetrator memories in Cambodia

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This article considers the reproduction of perpetrator memories to reflect on processes of reconciliation in Cambodia. The article explores the circulation of memories around local memorial and heritage sites within a former Khmer Rouge (KR) community, Anlong Veng. Anlong Veng was home to several senior KR leaders, two of whom were found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).1 The article draws on ethnographic and interview data to illustrate examples of the traction, limits and dissonances that flow from the ECCC and its attendant discourses of ‘national reconciliation,’ as they intersect with local accounts of the past. I argue that while perpetrator and ‘counter’ memories can have the potential to disrupt reconciliation, the case reveals complexities in the reproduction of memories of atrocity among both victim and perpetrator groups that appear simultaneously ‘unreconciled’ and commensurable to the ECCC project. In doing so, the article opens a critical space for reflections on the place of perpetrator memories in reconciliation initiatives and human rights scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-406
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Cambodia; Reconciliation; KR; Perpetrators; ECCC


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