CJA’s Partnership with the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia (ASRIC)
Founded by medical sociologist, Dr. Leakhena Nou, the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia (ASRIC) is a non-profit, grass-roots organization committed to supporting the global Cambodian community post-genocide. ASRIC is dedicated to increasing the cultural, individual, and collective strengths of the Cambodian population through juridical education and justice-oriented initiatives. ASRIC embraces the moral and juridical obligation to educate Cambodian/Americans about the ECCC. This mission gave rise to ASRIC’s Cambodian Diaspora Victims Participation Project (CDVPP). The CDVPP encouraged Cambodian genocide survivors to actively engage in the Tribunal proceedings as civil parties/witnesses for the ECCC.
ASRIC and its partner, the Asian Pacific American Institute at New York University (APA), spent more than one year traveling the United States and holding CDVPP forums to discuss the ongoing impact of the Khmer Rouge regime on members of the Cambodian diaspora living in the United States. Forums were held in Lowell, Philadelphia, the Washington, D.C. area, San Jose, Santa Ana, Long Beach among other locations. ASRIC collected testimony from approximately two hundred people – the largest collection of such testimony in the U.S.
For many participants, these forums provided an unique opportunity to share their experiences publicly and collectively. Therapists were made available to assist the participants with the emotional toll of recounting their experiences. Lawyers were also on hand to explain the legal process and to assist with preparing applications. In particular, Professor David Kaye and the International Justice Clinic at UCLA Law School, Alex Whiting from Harvard Law School, and attorney Audrey Redmond provided invaluable assistance with gathering witness testimony and preparing civil party applications. Professor Kaye and the International Justice Clinic have authored a report entitled Victim Participation and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Involvement of the Cambodian American Diaspora Community.
Of the approximately 200 people who were interviewed, 41 decided to submit applications to become Civil Parties to Case No. 002 before the ECCC. Approximately 130 people decided to participate as Complainants in the proceedings.
ASRIC, APA and CJA are working together on behalf of the survivors in this case to ensure that members of the Cambodian diaspora living in the United States are represented in the ECCC proceedings and able to share and document their experiences.
Key Players at ASRIC
Dr. Leakhena Nou, Executive Director of ASRIC, a trained medical sociologist, has more than fifteen years of research on the community effects of the Khmer Rouge. Dr. Nou is an assistant professor in the Sociology Department at California State University, Long Beach and also holds a Visiting Scholar appointment at the Asia Pacific American Institute at New York University. Her research focus specializes in a wide range of the social health and human rights related conditions effecting Cambodians inside and outside the country. Dr. Nou has published extensively in cross disciplinary journals and book publications.
Cathy Schlund-Vials, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in English and Asian American Studies and the Associate Director for the Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. She is helping ASRIC on a number of fronts. These include grant applications, web page editing and design and analyzing organizational symbols. Her diverse research interests include refugee and immigrant literature, human rights, and genocide remembrance. Her first book, Modeling Citizenship: Jewish and Asian American Writing (forthcoming, Temple UP), examines the interplay between narrative, immigration policy, and naturalization law. Her second book, Resistive Memory: Genocide Remembrance, Justice, and Cambodia America (forthcoming, Minnesota UP), focuses on Cambodian American memoir, hip hop, and film.
CJA and ASRIC convened public forums in locations throughout the United States for Cambodian survivors and their families regarding the accountability efforts against former Khmer Rouge officials in Cambodia. The purpose of these forums was to provide legal outreach and information about the ECCC and the trial against former senior officials of the Khmer Rouge.
Long Beach, CA Forum: July 26, 2014
On July 26, 2014, CJA and the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia (ASRIC) held a forum for Cambodian survivors at the Khmer Arts Center in Long Beach, California, to update them on the progress of Case 002/01.
Lowell, MA Forum: September 29, 2012
CJA and ASRIC held a forum for Cambodian survivors at the Lowell Community Health Center in Lowell, Massachusetts on September 29, 2012. This marked the second time that survivors in the Lowell area were able to personally meet with CJA staff attorneys. Dr. Leakhena Nou, Executive Director of ASRIC, presented her research findings on the physical and emotional effects of the Khmer Rouge tragedy on survivors in the United States. Dr. Nou’s presentation was followed by a presentation by Nushin Sarkarati about the background of the ECCC as well as the court’s legal parameters and limitations. Survivors were given the opportunity to share experiences, ask questions and make statements throughout the forum.
Civil Parties from the Diaspora Share their Views at the Start of Case 002 Before the ECCC
On November 21, 2011, CJA, in cooperation with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), held a conference at the opening of Case 002 in Cambodia and highlighted the lessons learned from the previous trial and proceedings, especially in regards to civil party participation and reparation, and gave the floor to victims from Cambodia and from the diaspora to express their expectations for this important trial.
San Jose Forum: February 26, 2011
On February 26, 2011, CJA and ASRIC conducted their first joint forum for Cambodian survivors in the Bay Area. Approximately 50 survivors attended the event, which was held in a Khmer Krom temple located in San Jose, California.
Information Packet from 2011 on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and Survivor Participation