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Torture Center Marks First Year as ‘Memory of the World’

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

Tuol Sleng museum, the former Khmer Rouge torture center, marked its first anniversary as a Memory of the World Monday, as officials set a giant stone on the southern side of Building A.

More than 12,000 people were sent to their deaths at Tuol Sleng under Kaing Kek Iev, the Khmer Rouge prison chief who was sentenced to a commuted 19 years by a UN-backed tribunal last month.

Known as S-21 to the Khmer Rouge, the former high school now goes by the official title of the National Museum of Tuol Sleng, following its Unesco Memory of the World listing on July 31, 2009.

The museum holds an archive of 4,186 prisoner confessions, 6,226 prisoner biographies and 6,147 photographs.

“Its significant and outstanding value were a part of the Memory of the World, stemming from its testament to man’s inhumanity to man, women and children, and from the documentation of one of the most extreme examples of crimes against humanity of the 20th Century,” Unesco’s representative to Cambodia, Teruo Jinnal, said during a ceremony Monday morning.

The anniversary comes just two weeks after the sentencing of Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch.

Chuch Phoeun, a secretary of stat the the Ministry of Culture, said the archives will be protected but that will require some technical assisance.

Van Nath, who survived the torture center under Duch, said he was satisfied that his former prison was now a Memory of the World.

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