Resources on the Khmer Rouge
Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide
in Cambodia

Resources on this website  |Books and Articles | Reports | Survivor testimonies | Commemoration
Film and Video | Websites  
(Last revised Oct. 28, 2005)

Other resources pages: Past Genocides 1901-1950: Hereros 1904 | Armenian 1915  | Holodomor 1933 | Shoah 1941 | Parajmos 1941
Past Genocides 1951-2000: East Bengal 1971 | Burundi 1972  | Cambodia 1975 | Guatemala 1982  | Iraqi Kurds 1988 | Bosnia 1992 | Rwanda 1994

Resources on this website

Books and Articles [See the Resources page from Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program , with extensive links to articles]

Elizabeth Becker, When the War Was Over: Cambodia's Revolution and the Voices of its People, 2nd Edition (New York: Simon and Schuster), 1998.
David P. Chandler, A History of Cambodia. 2nd Edition (Boulder, Colardo: Westview Press, 1996).
David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan, editors, Revolution and Its Aftermath in Kampuchea: Eight Essays. New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1983.
Includes Kiernan's importnant essay, "Wild Chickens, Farm Chickens and Cormorants: Kampuchea's Eastern Zone Under Pol Pot." Pages 136-211. and Serge Thion's "Chronology of Khmer Communism, 1940-82." Pages 291-319.
David P. Chandler, Ben Kiernan and Chanthou Boua,, Pol Pot plans the future : confidential leadership documents from Democratic Kampuchea, 1976-1977 (New Haven, Conn. : Yale Center for International and Area Studies, 1988). 346 pp.
David P. Chandler, Voices from F-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison, Berkeley, University of California Press. 1
David P. Chandler, Brother Number One: A Political Biography of Pol Pot. (Boulder:Westview Press, 1999).
Susan E. Cook, editor, Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda: New Perspectives Preface by Ben Kiernan Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Genocide Studies Program Monograph Series no. 1, 2004.
Craig Etcheson, After the killing fields : lessons from the Cambodian genocide (Westport, Conn. : Praeger Publishers, 2005)
Chapters: 1. The Thirty Years War 2. A Desperate Time 3. After the Peace 4. Documenting Mass Murder 5. Centralized Terror 6. Terror in the East 7. Digging in the Killing Fields 8. The Persistence of Impunity 9. The Politics of Genocide Justice 10. Challenging the Culture of Impunity
Craig Etcheson, The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1984), 284pp
David Hawk, "International Human Rights Law and Democratic Kampuchea," International Journal of Politics, 16, No. 3, Fall 1986, 3-38.
Stephen R. Heder, Cambodian communism and the Vietnamese model (Bangkok, Thailand : White Lotus Press, 2004).
Alexander Laban Hinton, Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide (University of California Press, 2005), 382 pp.
Why Did They Kill? is one of the first anthropological attempts to analyze the origins of genocide. Basing his analysis on years of investigative work in Cambodia, Hinton finds parallels between the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi regimes. Hinton considers this violence in light of a number of dynamics, including the ways in which difference is manufactured, how identity and meaning are constructed, and how emotionally resonant forms of cultural knowledge are incorporated into genocidal ideologies. Alexander Laban Hinton is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, Newark. He is the editor of Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide (California, 2002), Genocide: An Anthropological Reader (2002), and Biocultural Approaches to the Emotions (1999).
Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot regime : race, power, and genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 (New Haven : Yale University Press, 1996) 477 pp.
The first definitive account of the four-year reign of terror known as "Democratic Kampuchea." Working very closely with Cambodian sources, including interviews with hundreds of survivors and the archived "confessions" extracted by the Khmer Rouge from political prisoners just before their execution, Kiernan depicts the horrific nature of the Pol Pot regime with chilling specificity. His historical analysis makes a valuable contribution to understanding how they were able to come to power in the wake of the Vietnam War. Interview with Ben Kiernan
Ben Kiernan, How Pol Pot came to power : colonialism, nationalism, and communism in Cambodia, 1930-1975, 2nd ed. (New Haven : Yale University Press, 2004) 430 pp.
Ben Kiernan and Chanthou Boua, editors, Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea, 1942-81. London: Zed Press, 1982.
Includes "The 1970 Peasant Uprisings Against Lon Nol." pages 206-223 and "The Samlaut Rebellion, 1967-68." Pages 166-205
Edward Kissi, "Genocide in Cambodia and Ethiopia"" in Ben Kiernan and Robert Gellately, editors, The specter of genocide : mass murder in historical perspective (New York : Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Gregory H. Stanton, "Blue Scarves and Yellow Stars: Classification and Symbolization in the Cambodian Genocide," Occasional Paper of the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies, April 1989
Michael Vickery, Cambodia, 1975-82 (Boston: South End Press, 1984).
Michael Vickery, Kampuchea: Politics, Economics, and Society (London: Frances Pinter, 1986).

Survivor Memoirs (see below)

Older Titles from 1980 and before:

Samphan Khieu, Cambodia's Economy and Industrial Development. (Trans., Laura Summers.) Ithaca, New York: Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University, 1979.

François Ponchaud, Cambodia: Year Zero. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978.

William Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

Comparative Study :

Martin Shaw, War and genocide : organized killing in modern society, Malden, MA : Polity Press, June 2003.
A historical sociologist of war and global politics, with theoretical, empirical and political interests, Martin Shaw is the Professor of International Relations and Politics at the University of Sussex. His previous book is Theory of the Global State: Globality as Unfinished Revolution (Cambridge University Press 2000). War and genocide includes the following chapters: War and slaughter; Genocide as a form of war(availbale online on Shaw's website); Organizing violence; Producing destruction; Thinking war; Killing spaces; Combatants and participants; Victims; Movements; Just peace Episodes The trenches; The Armenian genocide; Stalinism's mass murders; Nazism, war and the Holocaust; Japan's genocidal wars; Allied strategic bombing; Nuclear war-preparation; The Cambodian genocide; Genocidal war in Yugoslavia; War and genocide in Rwanda; The new Western way of war.
Benjamin A. Valentino (b. 1971), Final solutions : mass killing and genocide in the twentieth century, (Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2004).
Eric D. Weitz, A century of genocide : utopias of race and nation, Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2003.

Eric Weitz investigates four of the twentieth century's major eruptions of genocide: the Soviet Union under Stalin, Nazi Germany, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and the former Yugoslavia. Drawing on historical sources as well as trial records, memoirs, novels, and poems, Weitz explains the prevalence of genocide in the twentieth century--and shows how and why it became so systematic and deadly. Weitz depicts the searing brutality of each genocide and traces its origins back to those most powerful categories of the modern world: race and nation. He demonstrates how, in each of the cases, a strong state pursuing utopia promoted a particular mix of extreme national and racial ideologies. Read the introduction (

Samantha Power, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide New York : Basic Books, 2002, 384 pp.

Chapter 6 of this book (p. 87-154) discusses Cambodia.

Book in Vietnamese

TŰi aīc diÍt ch?ung c?ua bon PŰn PīŰt-IÍng Xa-Ry. Published/Created: Hŗ NŰi : Suī th‚t, 1980. Description: 214 p. Subjects: Pol Pot. Ieng Sary. Parti communiste du Kampuchea. Political atrocities--Cambodia. Cambodia--Politics and government--1975-1979

Reports and Reseach

"Life Inside Cambodia," May 10, 1976, Brento Scowcroft to Presdient Ford, two pages.
Folder "Cambodia (23)", Box 3, National Security Adviser. Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Gerald R. Ford Library

Chronology of Cambodian Events Since 1950 [ from Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program ]


January 7, 2004 - Fall of Phnom Pehn - the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese Army ending the genocidal regime.

April 17 - Khmer Rouge 'Killing Fields' began - After defeating the US-backed Lon Nol regime, the Khmer Rouge immediately expelled the entire population of the capital city Phnom Pehn and began policies which resulted in the genocides of Cham Muslims, Ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese and the mass killing of many ethnic Cambodians.


Killng Fields (1984 2 hours, 21 minutes) , filmmaker Roland Joffé, previously a documentarist. This was his feature film debut

This drama concerns the real-life relationship between New York Times reporter Sidney H. Schanberg (Sam Waterston)and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), originally told in Schanberg, The Death and Life of Dith Pran (New York: Penguin, 1980). Dith Pran was left at the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg--who chose to stay after American evacuation but was booted out--failed to get him safe passage. While stationed in Phnom Penh in the early 1970s, Schanberg and Pran become close friends and confidants, negotiating and writing many groundbreaking stories. When the ruling Lon Nol government was overthrown by the Khmer Rouge, the country is turned upside down--killing is common in the streets, and children become gun-toting informants.. The film spends some time with Schanberg's feelings of guilt after the fact, but most of the film is an account of Dith's survival during Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaign. After years of brutal torture, Pran manages to escape and begins a long odyssey to Thailand and the border refugee camps. The late Haing S. Ngor (1940-1996) --a real-life doctor who had never acted before and who lived through the events depicted by Joffé--is outstanding, and he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Cambodia before the genocide 1987

Productions Iadra Devi Fil ; a presentation of V. Bopha Vaddey and Eas Proeung ; scenario, Biv Chhay Lieng. . Description: 2 videocassettes of 2 : sd., col. ; 3/4 in. viewing copy. Notes: Copyright: REG 18Mar87; PAu1-023-329. In Cambodian with English subtitles.

Dancing through Death: The Monkey, Magic, and Madness of Cambodia, (1999, 52 min) Produced and directed by Janet Gardner. Sophy Theam associate producer

ďThis is the story of Thavro Phim, who came of age under the Pol Pot regime and lost his father, brother, and grandfather to the blood thirsty Khmer Rouge. What kept him whole after the ordeal was his Buddhist faith and dedication to Cambodian classical dance where he performs the role of Hanuman, the magical white monkey.Ē Dancing Through Death is a poignant and thought provoking study of the role of folk and classical dance in reviving the culture of Cambodia in the wake of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. Survivors and refugees are interviewed extensively by the filmmakers who relate their stories of surviving the horror. Many of the dancers, members of the royal courtís troupe, had, like other artists, professionals and intellectuals, were among those targeted by the Pol Pot regime for extermination. Many of hose remaining survivors are teachers of dance at the University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. Thavro Phim and his sister, classical dancers and young survivors of the camps, pay a visit to the Prison Museum housing photographs and records of the victims of torture by the Khmer Rouge. The images in this museum of horror are as emotionally wrenching as those on display at the National Holocaust Museum. Among those interviewed: Thavro Phim [Cambodian classical dancer], Sithoeun hang [Thavroís mother], Dr. Sam-Ang Sam [U. of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh], Dr. Toni Shapiro [Cambodian Genocide Program, Yale University], Yit Sarin & Pun Bun Chan Roth [teachers, U. of Fine Arts and survivors of the Killing Fields], Dean Proeung Chhieng [School of Dance, U. of Fine Arts], Pen Sok Huon [master teacher, U. of Fine Arts], Tim Chan Thou [co-founder, Angkor Dance Troupe, Lowell, Mass.], Samnor Hor [13, Angkor Dance Troupe], Phousita Huy [Artistic director, Angkor Dance Troupe], Thavrak Seuar [monkey dancer], Ros Kung [master teacher and mother of the Seuar brothers], Soth Sam Om [master dancer], Youk Chhang [Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia], Dr. Ang Choulean [Anthropologist, U. of Fine Arts]. Notes: Produced and directed by Janet Gardner. Photography by Kevin Cloutier. Edited by Dina Potocki. Narrated by Marlene Sanders. Music and sound design by Richard Fiocca. Cambodian music performed by Sam-Ang Sam and Ensemble.

S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003, 101 min.) Cambodian film-maker Rithy Panh (Rice People, One Evening After the War)

Cambodian film-maker Rithy Panh (Rice People, One Evening After the War) continues to confront his countryís painful history with this extraordinary documentary based at S21 at Phnom Penh, now a genocide museum, but once the countryís main state security office, where, between 1975 and 1977, Pol Potís regime sanctioned the interrogation, torture and execution of untold thousands of people. Van Nath was one of the death campís few survivors. A painter whose experience at S21 has informed his work, he returns with Panh to the rooms where he was beaten and starved. Also returning are a number of S21 prison guards, the very men who tortured Nath and thousands of others. Nath gets to confront his former captors, still trying to come to terms with what he was put through nearly thirty years ago. His passionate demand for answers is met by incredulous, banal responses from the former guards, who not only seem to be emotionally detached from their part in the brutal running of the jail, but who talk fondly of Khmer Rouge slogans and ideology, and recreate their daily routine for Pahnís camera. This is eerie, uncomfortable viewing at times, but itís also a brave film from a significant film-maker, one that suggests there were victims of S21 beyond those murdered there.

Survivor testimonies

Thida B. Mam "Very few families were truly relocated to clear new land. Most ofthe trucks and ox carts containing these people were driven to mass graves in jungle clearings and deep wells."

"My" b. 1940 "I told my sons to run along and save themselves."

Arn Chorn-Pond "My teacher told me that before I played this flute I had to speak a little bit. I have to, because when he taught me he was killed five days later by the Khmer Rouge. He was killed because he taught me to play.

Pom Sarun (b. 1950) "The day after Sarun was beaten with a cattle prod, for hiding her watch in a palm leaf (the neighbors must have told the soldiers on her), her husband ate the poisonous fruit."

Sophia Srey Sharp b. 1960 "[P]eople disappeared from the village; the cadre did not talk about what had happened to them, and no one dared to ask." Also here

Sambo Thouch b. 1938 "He just took off his wedding band and said, "Save this. Save this so you can feed the children."

Loung Ung  b. 1969 "The soldier finishes dumping the clothes onto the pile. I cannot take my eyes off my dress. . .I do not hear the fingers strike a match . . . the next thing I know the pile of clothes bursts into flames and my red dress melts like plastic in the fire." Also here Her book is called, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

Ranachith Yimsut "I cried my heart out when I recognized a few dead bodies next to me."

Survivor Memoirs:

Chanrithy Him, When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge

Ly Y, Heaven Becomes Hell: A Survivor's Story of Life Under the Khmer Rouge, by Yale Southeast Asia Studies, Monograph 50.

Kim DePaul and Dith Pran, editors, Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields Memoirs by Survivors Introduction by Ben Kiernan, Yale University Press. 1999, 199pp.

Carol Wagner, Soul Survivors Stories of Women and Children in Cambodia With photographs by Valentina DuBasky Creative Arts Book Company 833 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 2002, 259 pp.

Soul Survivors gives voice to the women and children who survived the Khmer Rouge's secret genocide and the two decades of civil war that followed. The moving personal narratives document the lives of twelve people who stayed in Cambodia after the genocide when nearly two million people died between 1975 and 1979 from execution, starvation or disease. It includes two refugees who came to the US as orphans, returning as young adults to help their country. Coming from diverse backgrounds, including a farmer, a teacher, a Buddhist nun, a landmine victim and a women's leader, the survivors' engaging accounts demonstrate the strength and goodness of the human spirit. Additional chapters describe how the Khmer Rouge came to power, the role of the US in Cambodia, the problem of six million landmines, the Buddhist peace movement, and how to help women and children in Cambodia.

Click here - For Survivor and Eyewitness Testimonies from other Genocides


Genocide Studies Program - Yale University  (est. 1998, New Haven, CT, USA) Cambodian genocide project data-base contains thousands of files of records of Khmer Rouge genocide, with summaries in both Khmer and English. Interview with GSP Director Ben Kiernan See also the Cambodian Genocide Program

Cambodian Cultural Museum and Killing Fields Memorial (Seattle, WA, USA) Opened in May 2005, the Museum is the creation of Dara Duong, a Cambodian refugee who lost 30 relatives to the genocide.

Cambodian Genocide Program Documentation Project University of New South Wales, Sydney

Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam - Phnom Penh),

Imperial War Museum (London) Offers two permanent exhibitions concerning genocide: "The Holocaust Exhibition" (opened 2000) and "Crimes against humanity: an exploration of genocide and ethnic violence" examines the common features of genocides and instances of ethnic violence over the last one hundred years, including Nazi Germany, Bosnia, Cambodia, Armenia and Rwanda.

World Cambodian Congress WCC was set up at their first convention in Suffern, upstate New York, district of Congressman Benjamin Gilman, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee on November 26, 1994. There were more than 75 participants from 9 states in the US, as well as Canada and Cambodia

Digital Archive of the Cambodian Holocaust Survivors

Khmer Rouge archive at Rutgers-Newark, New Jersey. Newly established in April 2005 with the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM), see Alexander Hinton webpage

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