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So We Will Never Forget: A Population-Based Survey On Attitudes About Social Reconstruction and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia


After a decade of negotiations leading to the adoption of its internal rules in June 2007, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is the first serious effort to bring the law to bear, however belatedly and incompletely, on the horrendous crimes committed by leaders of the Khmer Rouge more than a quarter of a century ago. In power for just under four years (1975 to 1979), the Khmer Rouge more than decimated Cambodia. At least 1.7 million Cambodians, fully one quarter of the population, were killed or died as a result of the oppressive policies imposed by the Khmer Rouge, with execution, starvation, exhaustion from slave labor, malnutrition, and torture as the leading causes of death.

This report presents the findings of a nationwide, population-based survey undertaken by the Human Rights Center’s Initiative on Vulnerable in Cambodia. The survey sought to capture opinions and attitudes about accountability, social reconstruction, and the ECCC. Teams of interviewers used a structured questionnaire to interview 1,000 Cambodians 18 years old or older, randomly selecting 125 communes out of 1,621 using systematic random sampling proportionate to population size. Two villages were randomly selected from each commune, resulting in a sample size of 250 villages. Analysis of the report concluded with specific recommendations of ways in which the ECCC, Cambodian judicial and administrative institutions, civil society, and the international community can ensure that Cambodians become engaged participants in—and not merely auxiliaries to—the work of the court.

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