Hearing on sexual violence concludes in Cambodia

On December 7 and 8, 2011 the Cambodian Defenders Project convened the “Women’s Hearing: True Voices of Women During the Khmer Rouge regime on Sexual Violence” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With the help of first-hand accounts from female survivors and witnesses of sexual violence, the panel examined women’s experiences of sexual violence as part of the whole range of atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979.

The hearing was held in response to the lack of attention paid to rape and sexual violence in the United Nation’s current hearing trying the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime. The UN-backed hearing being held in the extraordinary chambers in the court of Cambodia maintains that sexual violence is not defined as a ‘moral offense’ and so has been excluded from the indictments.

The women’s hearing organized by the Cambodian Defenders Project aimed to address these misappropriations and to encourage victims to speak out and help end the culture of impunity that has been grounded in Cambodia. “The brutalities of the Khmer Rouge regime may have happened a long time ago,” expressed Nancy Bright, chief of staff to the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, “but the legacy of those crimes lives on”.


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Cambodia’s future rests on punishing past sexual crimes. The Guardian, December 16, 2011.

Panel statement from the Women’s Hearing: True Voices of Women During the Khmer Rouge Regime on Sexual Violence. Association for Women’s Rights in Development, December 14, 2011.