A Cambodian professor in southern California University brought a group of his students to Cambodia recently, to help them understand the Khmer Rouge tribunal and interview survivors and cadre of the regime.
For the 19 international relations students, the trip was a chance to learn more about the Pol Pot period, something that student Tiffany Handley said many Americans knew little about.
“You have the Holocaust, and people know all about that,” she told VOA Khmer. “I mean, my parents don’t know about this, my friends don‘t know about this. I write home to them and they don’t know what to say to me because they don’t have the information about what was happening.”
Path Kosal, a Cambodian professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, said he wanted his students to consider justice as it related to the trials of ex-Khmer Rouge leaders.
“The students have the opportunity for direct understanding when they meet with survivors, perpetrators, going to see the Khmer Rouge court, visiting the Documentation Centre of Cambodia to see what kind of document that they have over there. This is a new study style that seems to be more real,” he said.
Student Nirochika Bav said Cambodia’s reality came through in photos and documents at the Documentation Center. She said she understands the situation “100 times better” having seen these things in Cambodia.
Path Kosal said his students had also interviewed survivors of the regime and plan to present their research to other professors and victims of genocide, from the Holocaust to Rwanda.