The Khmer Rouge forbade the conduct of any funeral rites at the time of the death of the estimated two million people who perished during their rule (1975–79). Since then, however, memorials have been erected and commemorative ceremonies performed, both public and private, especially at former execution sites, known widely as the killing fields. The physical remains themselves, as well as images of skulls and the haunting photographs of prisoners destined for execution, have come to serve as iconic representations of that tragic period in Cambodian history and have been deployed in contested interpretations of the regime and its overthrow.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

. As the Americans joined the fray post World War II (after Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate the Jews, and after the US dropped two atomic bombs on civilians without warning), we can fast-forward to the use of nerve agents in Vietnam, the mass bombing of civilians in Cambodia, the giving of a green light to the government in East Pakistan to commit genocide in what is now Bangladesh or the political support the US gave to Pinochet and the Khmer Rouge. We can go back to the time when Hitler used US race laws as a model for the Third Reich

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The status of bodies in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide

7 From bones-as-evidence to tutelary spirits: the status of bodies in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide Anne Yvonne Guillou Introduction ‘What is a body?’ The question asked by Stéphane Breton is one that haunts those anthropologists who have to deal with any aspect of the materiality of flesh and of its corruption.1 On the one hand there is its materiality, through which the marks of mass violence such as that of the Khmer Rouge genocide can be read,2 while on the other there is its corruption, the slow process accompanying the change in the religious

in Human remains and mass violence
Methodological approaches

Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.

after, a civil war broke out between Lon Nol’s forces and the Khmer Rouge, which the latter eventually won in April 1975. 5 The Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot and named Democratic Kampuchea in early 1976, pursued a determined campaign to eradicate all internal opposition to its Maoist programme in Cambodia. 6 The actual toll of the radical Khmer Rouge attempt to forcefully

in The United Nations, intra-state peacekeeping and normative change
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Corpses and mass violence: an inventory of the unthinkable

. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1951).  5 F. Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–1962 (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010).  6 B. Kiernan, The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge, 1975–79 (Yale: Yale University Press, 1996).  7 R. Cribb (ed.), The Indonesian Killings of 1965–1966: Studies from Java and Bali, Monash Papers on Southeast Asia No. 21 (Clayton: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1990).  8 J. P. Chrétien

in Human remains and mass violence

nine million refugees fleeing to India), which led to the creation of Bangladesh; Vietnam’s overthrow of the heinous Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot in Cambodia (1979) (with up to two million civilian deaths mainly from disease and malnutrition in forced labour camps); and the overthrow of Amin’s odious regime in Uganda (with 300,000 citizens murdered by Amin’s thugs) by Tanzania (1979). Interestingly, all three intervening states did not justify their action on

in Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century
Witnessing, retribution and domestic reform

direction occurred in 1998, as 120 nations agreed to set up a permanent International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Fully independent international tribunals are presently at work in establishing accountability for the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and the attempted genocide in Rwanda. In 1999, an alternative UN joint war crimes tribunal was proposed for Cambodia, in which Cambodian and foreign judges would try former political and military leaders of the Khmer Rouge in a single trial. That these tribunals lack their own effective enforcement powers and are dependent

in Potentials of disorder
Open Access (free)
Why exhume? Why identify?

sharply with the situation in Cambodia, where mass crimes were perpetrated between 1975 and 1979. No extensive attempt to recover or identify bodies of victims of the Khmer Rouge has so far been undertaken, although some bones have been gathered in local memorials. The studies on which this volume is based deal with the fate of the bodies of civilian victims resulting from mass violence and genocide, as delimited by the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. They are by no means intended to be exhaustive, but seek to treat a number of important case studies with a

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
The tales destruction tells

the killing fields of the Cambodian genocide, the rice fields that served as places of execution, where the vast majority of the 2 million bodies of the victims of the Khmer Rouge were abandoned. The second category of treatment of the body is ‘concealment’, which can also take several forms, from an enforced disappearance under the seal of secrecy to a publicly orchestrated confiscation. The corpse is then removed from society, hidden, and sometimes buried, but not always; it can also be thrown into wells, caves, or lakes. It is therefore sometimes previously

in Destruction and human remains