MAPPING THE KILLING FIELDS

 

 
 

F

rom 1995 to 2007, the Documentation Center of Cambodia has set about the difficult and often disheartening task of mapping the Cambodian killing fields. Through interviews and physical exploration, DC-Cam identified  19,733 mass burial pits, 196 prisons that operated during the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) period, and 81 memorials constructed by survivors of the DK regime. Many of those sites contain or once contained the remains of thousands of victims, and they are located throughout 170 Cambodian districts and almost all of Cambodia's provinces. 

The killing fields. This country-wide map, produced by the Documentation Center of Cambodia using GPS technology, summarizes the locations of mass graves, former Khmer Rouge prisons, and genocide memorials throughout Cambodia.

 

The thousands of mass graves and scores of DK prisons many provide harrowing reminders of the need for accountability. The uniformity of the  prisons and mass burial bits, supported by witness accounts throughout the country, testify to the systematic application of crimes against   humanity including torture, murder, and arbitrary imprisonment on a horrific scale.  

 

Besides the mass graves and prisons revealing the unimaginable crimes of the Pol Pot era, however, one finds testimony to the courage and resilience of the survivors of Democratic Kampuchea. Next to many of the sites where atrocities were committed, survivors of the DK regime have erected memorials, seeking to honor their lost loved ones and to come to terms with their difficult past. One must hope that mapping the killing fields will help Cambodians realize that they deserve justice and national reconciliation.

 

DC-Cam's mapping project has been funded by the Royal Netherlands Government and United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL).