BEHIND THE SCENES
Meta House / KDKG is a nonprofit organization operating in Cambodia since 2007. The founders Nico Mesterharm and Sao Sopheak are documentarians by trade. Sao Sopheak, who is one of the few female Cambodian filmmakers working internationally, has shot and directed a number of documentaries about the Khmer Rouge genocide. She says that – being born during the Civil War of the 1980s - it is one her main objectives to explain Cambodia’s recent history to the country’s young generation who knows only little about the hardships of the past and its political implications. In 2019, the Virtual Memorial team recorded 20 testimonials at the Mango Tango Video Studio in Phnom Penh, under direct supervision of Sopheak. The recording and editing team consisted of media professionals and media students.
The Virtual Memorial team tours Cambodian schools and universities to present the project to youth around the country. Events include intergenerational dialogues with Khmer Rouge survivors, screening of short documentaries and recorded video testimonials as well as presentations of our website. In 2019, around 1000 students have participated. Ouk Bunthouen (19) was one of them. Following the event he told us: “At home, we have never really spoken about the Pol Pot years. In school, I have learned a little bit about it. Most of this history is new to me. I feel very moved by the testimonials of the survivors. This project makes me want to know more. It enables me to do my own research online. I will tell all my friends about it. I hope that more and more students have the chance to participate.”
Since 2015, Meta House / KDKG tours Cambodian school and universities to educate students about the Khmer Rouge history and its legacy. Beside intergenerational dialogue sessions and community theatre, the Phnom Penh-based arts center uses schoolyard exhibitions as an educational tool. These exhibitions feature photography by Choun Sopheap or paintings by senior Cambodian artists such as Chhim Sothy, Sous Sodavy or Hen Sophal. Selected artworks have also been exhibited at Toul Sleng Genocide Memorial and Meta House – both in Phnom Penh – as well as at the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap. Other exhibitions feature drawings made by students, KR survivors and other community member during a number of workshops held in various provinces all over Cambodia.
CIVIL PARTY EVENTS
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is the first court trying international mass crimes that provides an opportunity for victims to participate directly in the trial proceedings as Civil Parties (CPs). CPs are parties in the proceedings against accused persons being prosecuted before the ECCC, and they enjoy rights broadly similar to the prosecution and the defense. CPs can seek collective and moral reparations, but no individual monetary compensation can be awarded. Any person, who can demonstrate that he or she has suffered physical, material or psychological injury as a direct consequence of at least one of the crimes prosecuted before the ECCC, may apply to become a CP. Over 1000 CPs have been directly participating in KDKG / Meta House projects since 2015.
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