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Handa Center Screens Time to Speak Out in Cambodia

Cambodians sit on the floor of a bright room with colorful panels and a patterned floor
Apr 3 2017

Posted In:

Events, Rule of Law and Accountability, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

On Thursday 23 March 2017 Khmer Mekong Films (KMF) and the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice, with technical support from the Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) and financial support from the British Embassy in Phnom Penh, travelled to Kampong Chhnang Province to hold an event on sexual and gender-based violence during the Democratic Kampuchea regime. The event incorporated excerpts from six-part Khmer-language miniseries ‘Time to Speak Out,’ a joint production from KMF and the Handa Center. The series explores various themes related to forced marriage and sexual violence during Democratic Kampuchea, and explains attempts to address such crimes at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The six episodes were originally broadcast on Cambodian television channels My TV and CTN in December 2016 and January 2017.

The screening and discussion event took place with local community members in Sambor Meas Pagoda, Andoung Chek Village, Cheung Kreav Commune, Rolea Bier District, Kampong Chhnang Province. 92 villagers from four villages (Tapen, Andoung Chek, Tek Chenh and Prey Kong) attended the afternoon event, many bringing along their children or grandchildren. Ms. Kakada Lov, representing KMF, introduced more detail about the purpose behind the “Time to Speak Out” miniseries, explaining that the excerpts that would be shown would include the experiences of some survivors of sexual violence and forced marriages during the Khmer Rouge regime.

The first excerpt introduced some background about this sensitive topic and provided information on the progress of ECCC proceedings, particularly in Case 002/01 and ongoing Case 002/02 which dealt specifically with charges related to the regulation of marriage. After watching the first clip, participants were invited to discuss the ECCC and its treatment of those accused of committing crimes as part of the Khmer Rouge regime. Mr. Lina Tay, representing the Handa Center, explained to villagers that the two surviving senior leaders charged in Case 002, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are each now serving a life sentence.

Another excerpt from ‘Time to Speak Out’ featured former Civil Party lawyer Ny Chandy explaining why and how the crime of forced marriage was prosecuted at the ECCC. Villagers were then asked to discuss how to define forced marriage, as well as their own experiences witnessing forced marriage and other crimes during DK. Several people chose to share their personal experiences.

Watch all six episodes of “Time to Speak Out” online.