ECCC Civil Parties address Cambodia's youth

For over a quarter of a century, Cambodians have waited for justice. The Khmer Rouge Tribunal at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) aims to provide justice for those who died and those who survived. But the trials are also for the new generation – to educate Cambodia's youth about the darkest chapter in Cambodian history.

Since 2015, Phnom Penh-based arts center Meta House and its umbrella organization the Cambodian-German Cultural Association (KDKG) have conducted the community theatre project "The Courageous Turtle" with the Ministry of Youth, Education and Sport (MoEYS). For the first time, theatre is being used as an educational tool in Cambodian classrooms to enhance students' knowledge of the Pol Pot era.

So far, more than 10,000 youths have participated in events, which also entail intergenerational dialogues with ECCC Civil Parties. Civil Parties at the ECCC are those persons who have suffered harm, directly or indirectly, from the crimes investigated by the court and who have requested participation in the criminal proceedings.

The on-going photo project "Lessons from the Past" captures the voices of Civil Parties, who have attended the theatre performances. Swedish photographer Anders Jiras and the Meta House team want to find out what these survivors think of the theatre play and what are their messages to the youth of today. Special emphasis is given to the concept of civil courage, which means standing up for equality, inclusion, human rights, justice and being able to take action against any violation of them.

"The Courageous Turtle" project is made possible through funding from the European Union and the German Institute for Foreign Relations. Partnering NGOs are the Khmer Arts Action and Youth for Peace. Additional support comes from our corporate sponsors "Smart" and "Freshy".

The project has been proposed to the Khmer Rouge Trial as a Judicial Reparation project and is currently listed under the "Guarantee of Non-repetition" proposed list, in co-operation with the Victims Support Section and the Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

For more information:
Meta House Phnom Penh:
Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen:
Youth for Peace:
Khmer Art Action:
Turtle Club:
Documentation Center of Cambodia:
Victims Support Section of the ECCC:
Toul Sleng Genocide Memorial:
Bophana Audio Visual Resource Center: