The Khmer Rouge ( KR ) regulation from 1975 to 1979 had brought a calamity of humanity in Cambodia. An estimated 1.7 million people died in a atrocious effort by the government to revolutionise Kampuchean society into one without category or cultural differences. Recently the Kampuchean authorities in cooperation with the United Nations has established Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia ( ECCC ) , a Cambodian-UN intercrossed court, to seek those most responsible for the gross human rights misdemeanor during the KR regulation.

The current judicial procedure aimed at the senior leaders of KR in Cambodia is a portion of what societal scientists call as ‘transitional justness ‘ . Ideally, the transitional justness procedure in Cambodia should hold an tremendous part to the procedure of rapprochement in Cambodia. The KR regulation and about 20 old ages of struggle after the prostration of the government has resulted in making a divided society in Cambodia. The community has been divided amongst the victims on one side and the culprits on the other, and amongst the anti-KR in one side and the pro-KR on the other. In order to make sustainable peace, this divided society demands to be reconciled.

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This research focuses on researching the perceptual experience of the subsisters of the KR government on the current transitional justness procedure and the province of rapprochement procedure in Cambodia. Specifically, my research is aimed to turn to the undermentioned inquiries: What is the perceptual experience of the subsisters of Khmer Rouge on the judicial procedure held in Cambodia? To what extent will the transitional justness procedure implemented by the constitution of the ECCC affect the rapprochement procedure in Cambodia? Is the ECCC the best manner to cover with the past and promote rapprochement in Cambodia?

Presently five former KR leaders are being charged, i.e. Kang Guek Eav assumed name Duch, former head of S-21 prison ; Nuon Chea, former caput of the Democratic Kampuchea National Assembly ; Ieng Sary, former curate of foreign personal businesss of Democratic Kampuche ; Ieng Thirith, former curate of societal personal businesss of Democratic Kampuchea ; and Khieu Samphan, former caput of province of Democratic Kampuchea. In the period when this research was undertaken ( from 20 December 2008 to 20 September 2009 ) , the test on Kang Guek Eav assumed name Duch has been underway. The test has been commenced since 30 March 2009, and is still ongoing at the clip when this research was completed ( 20 September 2009 ) . The tests on the other suspects have non been started yet.

2. Conceptual Model

Transitional justness refers to the short term and frequently impermanent procedures turn toing “ the bequest of human rights maltreatments and force during a society ‘s passage off from struggle or autocratic regulation ” .[ 1 ]Basically there are two attacks of justness that could be used to turn to the bequest of human rights maltreatments and force during the epoch of passage: ( 1 ) retributive justness, and ( 2 ) renewing justness. Retaliatory justness is based on the doctrine that the felon ‘s Acts of the Apostless have created an instability of societal order which should be addressed by action against the felon.[ 2 ]Meanwhile, renewing justness is based on the doctrine that instability of societal order created by the condemnable Acts of the Apostless should be addressed by set abouting comprehensive action on the victims, culprits and community.[ 3 ]

The procedure of transitional justness has a immense influence on the procedure of rapprochement between victims and culprits involved in past struggle or force. Originating from the Latin word “ Conciliare ” , intending “ convey together ” , the construct of rapprochement has been defined by many bookmans in the field of peace and struggle surveies. Harmonizing to Hizkias Assefa, as an attack, rapprochement “ non merely tries to happen solutions to the issues underlying the struggle but besides works to change the antagonists ‘ relationship from that of bitterness and ill will, to friendship and harmony ” .[ 4 ]John Paul Lederach suggests that rapprochement is an attempt to reframe the present by supplying the infinite for meeting the recognition of the past and visualizing the hereafter. For this to go on, harmonizing Lederach, “ people must happen ways to meet themselves and their enemies, their hopes and their frights ” .[ 5 ]

Lederach argues that there are four constituent elements of rapprochement procedure, i.e. truth, clemency, justness and peace. Reconciliation is the topographic point where the four elements meet. He explains that, “ Truth is the yearning for recognition of incorrect and the proof of painful loss and experience, but it is coupled with Mercy, which articulates the demand for credence, allowing spell, and a new beginning. Justice represents the hunt for single and group rights, for societal restructuring, and for damages, but is linked with Peace, which underscores the demand for mutuality, well-being and security. ”[ 6 ]

The constitution of the court and the current test on the leaders of the KR can be categorized as a transitional justness procedure. Cambodia ‘s society is presently in a transitional period off from KR genocidal government and the undermentioned struggle. During this transitional period, the authorities of Cambodia, in cooperation with the UN, attempts to turn to the bequest of the horror of race murder in Cambodia which happened during the KR epoch by set uping the court and seeking the leaders responsible for the atrociousnesss. The research worker, by following Lederach ‘s dreamer attack, explored the feeling and perceptual experiences of the victims looking at the four constituent elements of justness ( truth, justness, mercy/forgiveness and peace ) in relation to the current judicial proceedings against some cardinal leaders of KR.

3. Research Methodology

To roll up informations this research used ( 1 ) in-depth interview, ( 2 ) observation, and ( 3 ) literature surveies. The sources interviewed in this research are the subsisters of KR, which include both victims and culprits. Due to geographical restraints[ 7 ]and really finite resources, the field research was conducted in Kandal Province, Takeo Province, Kampong Speu Province, that represent the parts where the atrociousnesss largely happened[ 8 ]; and Phnom Penh municipality that represents the country where the most extremist alteration took topographic point during the KR period.[ 9 ]

In the three states, in-depth interview and observation were conducted in sample countries where many victims and culprits live together without being reconciled. In Phnom Penh, interviews were conducted with some victims who attended the test and besides with some victims in the country where Cambodia ‘s Cham Muslims in Phnom Penh were concentrated. Therefore, in add-on to acquiring the position of the metropolis inhabitants, the research worker besides could obtain the position of the Cambodia ‘s Cham Muslims on the issues researched.[ 10 ]

The entire figure of subsisters interviewed is 63 people, consisted of 25 females and 38 males. Among them, 47 people can be categorized as victims and 16 people can be categorized as culprits. Overall, the ages of the interviewees range from 37 old ages old to 82 old ages old.

4. Victims and Perpetrators: Their Daily Interaction

Many victims and culprits live in the same or neighbouring small town. In Kandal Steung territory ‘s Trappeang Sva small town, where Khmer Rouge ‘s Sang Prison ( Kuk Sang )[ 11 ]was located, some people who lost their household members in the prison during KR period presently live in the same country with some KR cells who used to work as prison security guards. There are besides some former captives in the Sang Prison who live in the adjacent small towns, such as Boeung Khaek, Boeung Khyang, Chambak Trab, Prey Tatoich, which are located merely within the radius of 3-5 kilometre from Trappeang Sva small town. In Taleur small town and Sandao small town of Tramkak territory, the victims of KR unrecorded side by side with some KR cells who made them suffer or even contributed the violent deaths of their household members during the KR. Similarly, in Chambak Sor small town of Thpong territory, the victims of KR still recognised the people who made them endure during the KR and now live in adjacent small towns.

Many victims conducted revenge actions on the culprits right after the KR prostration in 1979. There are, nevertheless, no recent reported clangs or avenge actions between the victims and the culprits.[ 12 ]The study conducted by Centre for Social Development ( CSD ) in 2005, for case, shows that the councilors largely considered the struggles on the issue of land and domestic force as the most of import struggles at the commune degree.[ 13 ]

From a superficial observation it seems like there are no jobs between the victims and the culprits. However, if we observe more profoundly, we will happen jobs when sing the interactions between the two groups. A study conducted in 2008 by the University of California ‘s Human Rights Center, in coaction with Center for Advanced Study, showed that 84.6 % of the people who lived under KR still harbored feeling of hatred toward those KR members responsible for violent Acts of the Apostless.[ 14 ]About 72 % wish to see the KR members suffer in some manner.[ 15 ]Populating in close propinquity, victims and culprits sometimes meet out of the blue on a street or at some events, such as a small town assemblage, a nuptials ceremonial or a spiritual ceremonial in a monastery. Interestingly, and what points to the dealingss between the two groups is that when they meet both victims and culprits ne’er speak to each other and frequently prefer to travel off from each other.

For many victims, out of the blue coming across culprits raises their choler. Informant C, a 72 year-old adult female in Chambak Trab, who knows that the people involved in killing her hubby are still alive, said, “ When I saw them on the route, I felt like [ there is ] a large fire on my thorax. ”[ 16 ]Such unexpected meetings with culprits remind them about the past and do them sad. Informant D, a 58 year-old adult female, former captive who besides lost his hubby in the Sang Prison and presently lives in Prey Tatoich, said, “ Sing him raised my memory about agonies in the past ” . She is really unhappy because those who killed her hubby, and besides many such culprits from the past still live merrily now.[ 17 ]

Such bad experiences of the yesteryear besides conveying about trauma-related frights to the victims. Informant F, a 63 year-old adult female ex-prisoner in Sang Prison, who presently lives in Boeng Khaek said that she still recognized a former security guard who presently lives in Trappeang Sva. He has a motor-cart, and frequently passes the route near her house. When she saw him, she was truly disquieted about her safety. She said, “ When I walked entirely and saw him, I ever moved off from him. I was so scared that he would torment me once more as he did in the yesteryear. ”[ 18 ]

Some culprits interviewed are besides still worried that the victims will take retaliation on them. One KR ‘s former concerted head in Thpong territory ‘s Chambak Sor small town, for illustration, decided to travel to Chambak P’aim small town to get away people ‘s choler. Presently, he is still hated by many people in Chambak Sor and so he has non returned back to his original small town.[ 19 ]

5. The Trial and Reconciliation Process

5.1. The Trial and Justice

Many victims interviewed said that they felt happy when they heard about the tribunal to set the KR leaders on test. For them, the test means the leaders would be punished and that will assist them to alleviate some of their wretchedness and their choler. Several studies which have been conducted in Cambodia have suggested that the bulk of Kampuchean support the court.[ 20 ]The latest study conducted from 9 September to 1 October 2008 by Human Rights Center of University of California, Berkeley, in coaction with Center for Advanced Studies shows that 90.5 per centum of the people who lived during KR said that it is of import to keep accountable those responsible for what happened during the KR government.[ 21 ]

However, many victims think that although the test can do them experience happy, the test will convey merely partial justness for them. Informant G in Chambak Trab, a 58 year-old adult female ex-prisoner in Kuk Sang, who besides lost her hubby and girl during the KR, for illustration, demands that the low degree culprits have to be put on test because of the violent deaths they committed. She said, “ The people [ who used to work in the Sang Prison ] have to be put on test because they killed people straight ”[ 22 ].

Some victims besides want the authorities to give them single reparation that will enable them to do their lives better. Informant F, a adult female victim in Boeung Kaek, is enduring from take a breathing troubles caused by the anguish she experienced during the KR. She mentioned that besides the test, she wanted the authorities to give her money to travel to the infirmary.[ 23 ]For informant G, any gift from the authorities can stand for symbolic compensation for her agonies. She said, “ Any sort of gift from the authorities I will accept it ”[ 24 ]Some other victims besides hoped that if the authorities could penalize the accused by inquiring them to pay for reparation, the money should be used for corporate reparation to the victims, e.g. for constructing a infirmary or memorial sites dedicated to the victims. Informant J in Taleur small town, a 45 year-old adult male who was forced to work hard in a child unit during KR, said, “ If the court can acquire money from the leaders on test, it should be used to construct Stupa[ 25 ]for the victim and ( the authorities should ) announced that the Stupa is built by taking money from the KR leaders. ”[ 26 ]

Harmonizing to Internal Rule of the ECCC, the court may present merely “ corporate and moral ” reparations to the victims. These shall be awarded against and be borne by convicted individuals.[ 27 ]However, it appears that it is about impossible for the victims to obtain these “ collective and moral ” reparations. All of the tribunal ‘s current detainees have been declared excessively hapless to pay for their ain defence, intending they would be unable to pay reparations either.[ 28 ]

Besides victims who want low degree culprits to be tried or who wants reparations or compensation, there are some other who think that the test will non convey adequate justness for them due to the faulty procedure of the test itself. Informant M in Trappeang Kak small town, a 50 year-old adult male victim of forced labour during KR, for illustration, hopes that the test will last rapidly. Sing the age of the leaders[ 29 ]he is worried that the leaders will decease before the test comes to them.[ 30 ]Informant N, a 62 year-old adult male in Boeung Khaek small town, who lost 3 siblings during the KR is really pessimistic that the tribunal can happen justness for him.[ 31 ]He feels that the court may take excessively long clip to penalize the leaders. He besides raises the concern about the sum of money used for the test[ 32 ]and that someday there will be a deficit of money that forces the court to be shut down.[ 33 ]

Besides questioning victims, culprits populating in the same or adjacent country were besides interviewed to determine their feelings on the test and justness it was designed to present. Some of the culprits think that the test is of import to happen justness for the victims.[ 34 ]However, some other culprits show no feeling towards the court and the test procedure. Informant Q, a 52 twelvemonth old adult male, a former prison security guard in Trappeang Sva, for illustration, said that he did non care about the test. He felt that the test would non hold any positive impacts. He explained, “ Although the court was established the people still can non acquire back the lives of the dead. ”[ 35 ]

5.2. The Trial and the Truth

Many victims mentioned that they wanted to cognize about the truth in the yesteryear. The truth for them includes: who is responsible for the atrociousnesss happened during the KR? Who did what in the KR? Who is right and who is incorrect? What was behind the KR? Why Khmer killed Khmer? Many think that the test will assist them happen the truth on who is responsible for the atrociousnesss in the past, who is right or incorrect and who is behind the KR. However, it appears that many still harbor some uncertainties whether the test will assist them to happen the truth on why Khmer killed Khmer

In order to advance rapprochement between the subsisters at the grass root degree, the victims really needs to hold an apprehension about the whole context of the atrociousnesss, including the grounds and fortunes that lead the culprits to perpetrate the barbarous actions during the KR period. However, as suggested by Laura McGrew, the KR Tribunal procedure may assist subsisters cognize more about their yesteryear, but is improbable to run into their demand or want to cognize the whole truth or a full historical history.[ 36 ]Wendy Lambourne besides argues that there are still inquiries as to the ECCC ‘s ability to fulfill the demand for an apprehension of why such offenses were committed by the Kampuchean government against their ain people.[ 37 ]The temporal legal power of the Court, for illustration, prevents the probe on the offenses perpetrated by the Lon Nol which preceded the Pol Pot government, nor can the tribunal investigate the function of foreign authoritiess in helping and abetting the KR. This may lend to a clear apprehension of why Khmer killed Khmer during the KR.[ 38 ]

From the field research, it appears that although the test is being conducted, many victims still do non understand the grounds of why the KR cells, who are really their fellow villagers, sent them to imprison or killed members of their household. Informant R, a 50 year-old adult male in Chambak Trab small town, still does non understand why he and his household were sent to the Kuk Sang by the individual who was really his neighbour.[ 39 ]Informant C in Chambak Trab besides does non understand the grounds why the KR cells in his small town, who knew really good that her hubby was merely a common individual accused him as a Lon Nol soldier and killed him.[ 40 ]

Even though the test is being conducted, the lower degree culprits still find it hard to admit the yesteryear or their function in it. Although many of the victims witnessed and pointed out those who made them endure, many culprits still refuse to acknowledge their functions and errors. Informant T, 48 year-old adult male, another former security guard in Sang Prison denies the claim of the victims or that the 1000s of castanetss found in the prison are the castanetss of the victims of KR. He explained that the castanetss were non merely the victims of KR, but besides the victims of Vietnamese invasion. He besides does non repent his function in the yesteryear because he was a kid at that clip and merely followed orders.[ 41 ]

5.3. The Trial and Forgiveness

The current test in Phnom Penh appears non to be able to assist many victims forgive the low degree culprits. Many of the victims said that although the test may penalize the leaders, they still would non forgive the low degree culprits. The test on the KR leaders so makes them experience that some justness is being done ; nevertheless, it would non hold any consequence on their feelings of hatred and choler on the low degree culprits who presently live in the same or adjacent country.

What the interviews show is that for many victims, it is hard to associate the penalty of the leaders with forgiveness to the low degree culprits. Consequently, victims believe that the low degree culprits should be besides punished due to their direct complicity in killing or tormenting. Informant D in Prey Tatoich small town even said that she does non cognize the leaders, but merely knows the low degree culprits who used to be really powerful in the country where she lived during the KR.[ 42 ]

The position that the low culprits are besides every bit barbarous as the leaders is caused by the absence of empathy between victims and the culprits, intending the deficiency of victims ‘ understanding on the culprits ‘ ground of “ following orders ” and the deficiency of culprits ‘ understanding on the agonies felt by the victims. Empathy can be gained with the victims ‘ willingness to listen to the grounds for the actions of those who caused their hurting and with the wrongdoers ‘ apprehension of the choler and resentment of those who suffered.[ 43 ]

All of the culprits interviewed said that they did the inhuman treatments in the past merely because they were ordered to make so from the top. If they rejected the order, they will be killed by the upper. However, merely a few victims believed that the low degree received orders from the top. Informant N in Boeung Khaek said, “ The uppers merely ordered a little thing, but what they ( the lowers ) did was bigger than the order ” .[ 44 ]Some victims do non understand why culprits accepted, without any reserve, orders to perpetrate inhuman treatments ; whilst others believe that the inhuman treatments were committed because of their ain purposes.[ 45 ]

5.4. The Trial and Peace

The war in Cambodia officially ended when cabals in Cambodia agreed to subscribe Paris Peace agreement on 23 October 1991. However the security status in Cambodia became stable merely after the desertions of the KR ‘s Deputy Prime Minister Ieng Sary along with important Numberss of military personnels from the Northwest of the state in 1996, and other high ranking KR cells following the decease of Pol Pot in 1998. As explained antecedently, although there are still jobs in the dealingss between the victims and the culprits, they presently live in peaceable status. The constitution of the court to seek the KR leaders is besides made possible by the peaceable status in Cambodia.

The field research reveals that many of the sources ( both victims and culprits ) feel the test will non upset the peaceable status in Cambodia. Many of them believe that the accused leaders no longer hold a important figure of protagonists so the test would non destabilise the state.[ 46 ]The once powerful leaders are old and do non hold overzealous followings. More than 10 old ages after the desertion that terminated the KR motion, many of the former KR members have enjoyed the amnesty plan given by the authorities. Some of them have even already lift to political places in the authorities or parties.[ 47 ]

However, at the clip when this research was conducted, there was a argument between the co-prosecutors whether or non to seek more KR leaders. In December 2008, the ECCC ‘s international co-prosecutor asked for six extra persons to be investigated. His Kampuchean opposite number, nevertheless, has opposed any farther probe. One of her concerns was that prosecuting the culprits, other than the highest leaders, could harm Cambodia ‘s stableness and national rapprochement. On 2 September 2009 the ECCC published the determination of The Pre-Trial Chamber ( PTC ) , declaring that it can non decide the dissension by a super-majority determination and that hence, in conformity with the Internal Rules of the ECCC, the probe of extra suspects for future prosecutions shall continue. Beyond this, there is a strong inclination to believe that the authorities of Cambodia is in favour of merely seeking the five accused. This is reflected by remarks made by Prime Minister Hun Sen in his visit to France in July 2009 when he stated that the KR court should non seek prosecution of any leaders of the KR beyond the five already in detention. The authorities believes that the test on more than five will endanger the peace in Cambodia.[ 48 ]

Many sources have assumed that the court or test will penalize the leaders. They have non considered that the court could happen them non guilty. When this was put to the sources, many of the victims said that they would be really defeated. However, as citizens, they said they would follow the determination of the tribunal and give up the affair to the authorities.[ 49 ]

6. Covering with the Past and Promoting Reconciliation in Cambodia

The constitution of the ECCC and the test on the KR leaders is merely one manner to turn to the past and bettering the rapprochement procedure in the transitional period. It is basically an application of the retaliatory justness attack which punishes the offenders. However, the judicial mechanism in the province of passage has one principal restriction. The mechanism is merely able to set really few people on test, those who are perceived as the most responsible individuals.[ 50 ]There are a batch of low degree culprits who can non be tried because of the security status.

To advance the rapprochement procedure in Cambodia and besides trade with the yesteryear, there is a demand for Cambodia to unite the retaliatory attack with the renewing attack by set uping Truth and Reconciliation Commission ( TRC ) as a complementary of the ECCC. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission can assist Cambodians happen the whole truth in the undermentioned ways. First, it can set up a record of the yesteryear which is accurate, elaborate, impartial and official[ 51 ], by deploying truth-seeking mechanisms such as statement pickings, public hearings and probe. Second, in its procedure, the truth and rapprochement committee can affect a big figure of the population in the transitional justness procedure. Narratives from both victims and culprits can be gathered, compared and confirmed to do a comprehensive historical history. Third, recognition can be gained through the public hearing procedure which enables the victims and culprits to hear and formalize one another narratives every bit good as their feelings and experiences.

The truth and rapprochement committee can assist victims to happen justness by following ways. First, the Commission can be a forum to pass on to the subsisters what happened in the test. Here, it can be explained, for illustration, the grounds why merely five leaders were tried and why the procedure of the test takes a long clip. Second, the committees can complement the prosecution procedure by garnering, forming, and continuing grounds that can be used in prosecutions.[ 52 ]Third, it can advance the answerability of the other culprits by urging other signifiers of answerability such as remotion from office, damages or community service strategies.[ 53 ]Fourth, the Commission can urge a necessary signifier of compensation for past maltreatments and for ongoing psychological, physical and economic hurts experienced by victims. It can besides do originative suggestions sing symbolic signifiers of reparation for victims, such as commemorations, reburyings and commemorating ceremonials.[ 54 ]Five, by set uping the injury mending subdivision indoors, the Commission can besides assist the victims to mend their injury.

The truth and rapprochement committee will lend to the forgiveness between the victims and culprits. It can be a mediation forum between the victims and culprits where the victims can talk about their agonies and the culprits can squeal about what they did in the yesteryear. Through a public hearing mechanism, the committee can open a forum of duologue between victims and culprits. It can advance tolerance and apprehension by leting conflicting parties to hear each other ‘s grudges and agony.[ 55 ]This may assist construct empathy that may take to confessions and forgiveness. The empathy, confession and forgiveness ensuing from the procedure of the Commission can counter the competitions and hates originating from past events. This, eventually, will enable the strengthening of the peace status in Cambodia.

The truth and rapprochement committee is suited for the Kampuchean society. As argued by Lambourne, the constitution of a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation in Cambodia is consistent with Buddhism, the faith of the bulk of Cambodians. The Buddhist position on justness prefers renewing justness instead than retaliatory justness.[ 56 ]Buddhism Teachs that justness involves the “ undoing ” of a offense so that order might be restored and the end of harmonising the parties instead than consistence with abstract legal rule.[ 57 ]The Buddhist monastics can play an of import function in the procedure of rapprochement between the victims and culprits. As shown in a documental film “ Deacon of the Death ” , a Buddhist monastic could play an effectual function to piece a meeting between victims with the culprits, addition confession from the culprits and let go of the choler of the victims.[ 58 ]Further, in malice of their limited range, some NGOs besides have held activities similar with Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Documentation Center of Cambodia ( DC Cam ) , for illustration, has collected 1000s paperss connected to the KR period and interviewed many victims and culprits in the undertakings such as ‘Promoting Accountability ‘ , ‘Victims of Torture ‘ , ‘Victim Participation ‘ . The Centre for Social Development ( CSD ) has run “ public forum ” activities where the subsisters are given a opportunity to speak about rapprochement. The truth and rapprochement committee can affect these NGOs and their resources in accomplishing its purpose to happen the truth and promote rapprochement in Cambodia.

8. Decision

Ideally, the transitional justness procedure in Cambodia should hold an tremendous part to the procedure of rapprochement in Cambodia. However, the research conducted from 20 December 2008 to 20 September 2009 in Cambodia has found that the constitution of the ECCC and the test procedure on the five accused appears to be improbable to lend much to the procedure of rapprochement between victims and low degree culprits at the grass root degree in Cambodia. Although the test is really of import for many victims to accomplish some justness and alleviate some of their agony and choler with the government, the victims feel that the justness delivered by the test will non be sufficient plenty. The test will besides non be of much aid to the victims in detecting the whole truth or forgiving the low degree culprits.

The findings of the research give weight to the statement that the retaliatory attack of the judicial mechanism combined with the renewing attack of truth and rapprochement committee ( TRC ) is needed to advance a rapprochement procedure in Cambodia. The test needs to be continued, nevertheless, at the same clip, truth and rapprochement committee needs to be established. The TRC will enable the subsisters to happen sufficient justness and uncover the full history of the truth. The TRC will assist advance the procedure of forgiveness between the victims and the culprits. The TRC will eventually beef up the peace in Cambodia.