13 September 2006 - 28 January 2007
In January 1979, Vietnamese troops entered Phnom Penh and routed the Khmer Rouge, putting an end to a regime that had cost the lives of over 1.7 million Cambodians in four years, or nearly one quarter of the pre-1975 population.
What brought the Khmer Rouge to power? Where did their murderous utopia spring from? This exhibit draws on the few pictures available from that period, previously unseen film footage and ethnographical objects to recall the political and cultural context in which the Khmer Rouge rose to power, the violence of their years in government and the impact of that violence on present-day Cambodia.
The measures taken to try Khmer Rouge officials should come to fruition in 2007, making this an appropriate time to analyse the mechanisms of the genocide. Cambodia remains a ravaged country, and it is therefore crucial to acknowledge what happened. Shown as part of the exhibit, Cambodian director Rithy Panh’s film, S-21, The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (2002), confronts the torturers with their past, attests to their impunity and renders justice to the suffering of the survivors.
The exhibit was conceived by the Lyon-based Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation and has been adapted for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.