This article considers ways people in Cambodia narrate the Khmer Rouge regime and its genocide outside the bounds of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Based on anthropological fieldwork, I explore how informants use ‘karma’ to discuss the genocide, and by doing so create their own understandings and lived experiences of that period of historical violence, understandings that do not fit neatly into the narrative modes created by the courts. By stepping outside the court, I consider ways of dealing with the genocide that exist beyond the international framework of transitional justice, thereby asking wider questions of what justice is and does. Rather than claiming a dichotomy between (inter)national and local forms of providing “justice” and dealing with genocide, I consider the different frameworks to be co-exisiting forms of global interaction; sometimes at odds with each other; sometimes complementary; often times unrelated but important companions.
The research for this paper was supported by the ESRC (grant number ES/J500148/1) and Victoria University of Wellington. I am grateful for the feedback received from initial versions of this presented at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada, and at the International Association of Genocide Scholars Annual Conference at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Thanks to Professor Alexander Hinton for his generous exchanges, and Dr Tallyn Gray for his thoughts and conversation.
"Karma after Democratic Kampuchea: Justice Outside the Khmer Rouge Tribunal,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
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