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Khmer Rouge Reenactment Filming Begins

A film crew of eight Cambodians and two Germans left Tuesday for Kirivong district, Takeo province, to spend 10 days filming a documentary near the Khmer Rouge stronghold of Phnom Vor.

The crew will film former victims of the Khmer Rouge reenacting, through improvisation, their own memories of experiences under the regime.

The film will allow former victims to express their experiences under the Khmer Rouge and will be related to the upcoming trials for jailed leaders under the Khmer Rouge tribunal, said Chhaya Hong, executive director of the Khmer Institute of Democracy.

The institute has been promoting outreach of information on the tribunal. The film will be dedicated to appeasing the anger of Cambodian victims of the Khmer Rouge in general, he said.

“The film will discuss justice and reconciliation,” Chhaya Hong said. “We want victims to reenact what they’ve experienced. They will speak out about their pasts during the Khmer Rouge, painful problems. But no real actors will appear in the film.”

Once the film is made, it will be used during the institute’s outreach, across nine provinces, to help people vent anger ahead of tribunal proceedings against five jailed leaders of the regime.

The film comes at the hybrid tribunal proceeds, with all of its wards detained for more than one year. Judges said Tuesday they had extended the detention of Khieu Samphan, former figurehead of the regime, another year.

The courts are also set to try the first of the five, Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, also known as Duch, early next year.

Chhaya Hong called the trial of Duch “crucial.”

“We have to prevent [violence],” he said. “In order that the victims will not explode in anger and not take vengeance. We don’t want to see such kinds of things happen.”

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath welcomed the initiative for its “reconciliation.”

“We think this is a help for the country in the future,” he said.

The film will be finished by the end of December, and after 10 days of filming in Takeo, the crew will travel to Kratie province.