United Nations, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance New York Discuss Justice for Victims of Khmer Rouge

Note No. 6349
24 May 2012

United Nations, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance New York Discuss Justice for Victims of Khmer Rouge

24 May 2012
Press Release
Note No. 6349
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

United Nations, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance New York

Discuss Justice for Victims of Khmer Rouge


The United Nations Department of Public Information will partner with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance New York to examine the issues that led to mass murder during the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia and current efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.  Organized by The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, the round table discussion will take place on Wednesday, 30 May, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Museum.

From 1975 until 1979, Cambodia was ruled by communist ideologist Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who came to power after overthrowing the Government.  His vision was to create a classless utopian society and return Cambodia to its agrarian roots.  In the process, he would cleanse the country of all minorities, intellects and those deemed unfaithful to the regime.  Almost 2 million Cambodians perished during his reign.

During the course of the discussion on Wednesday, participants will gain insight into common characteristics of this tragedy and other genocides, including the Holocaust.  The panel will also discuss the role of the United Nations in Cambodia, the progress being made in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and how Cambodians are rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of trauma.

Participants will view the Emmy-nominated United Nations documentary Cambodia: A Quest of Justice.  Through the personal stories of two individuals who survived imprisonment in Tuol Sleng prison, or S-21, the film chronicles the suffering of the prisoners and covers the trial of former prison head Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch.  He was the first Khmer Rouge leader to be tried by the United Nations-backed international tribunal.  In July 2010, judges found Duch responsible for the death of 12,272 lives and sentenced him to 35 years in prison.  On 3 February 2012, after hearing Duch’s appeal, the court sentenced him to life in prison.  Other Khmer Rouge leaders have yet to be tried.

Maher Nasser, Acting Head, United Nations Department of Public Information, will open the event.  Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs and the Director of the Task Force against Hate and Terrorism for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, will moderate the discussion.  Speakers include:  Andi Gitow and Susan Farkas, the two co-producers of the film; Stephen Mathias, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs; Professor Alex Hinton, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide; and Socheata Poeuv, a child survivor and CEO of Khmer Legacies.

The Museum of Tolerance New York, part of the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, challenges visitors to confront bigotry and racism, and to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts.  It also serves as a professional development multimedia training facility targeting educators, law enforcement officials and state and local Government practitioners.  The Museum is located at 226 East 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10017.  Please visit: www.museumoftolerancenewyork.com.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme was established by General Assembly resolution 60/7 in 2006 to further education about and remembrance of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide.  Its multifaceted programme includes online and print educational products, seminars, exhibitions, a film series and the annual worldwide observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust each 27 January.  Please visit: www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance.

For more information, please contact Kimberly Mann, Manager, The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, at tel.: +1 212 963 6835, e-mail: mann@un.org; or Andi Gitow, Producer, United Nations News and Media Division, at tel.: +1 917 367 3012, e-mail: gitow@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.