Trading a theatre for military headquarters: Locating the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Rebecca Gidley*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, more formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), is a United Nations (UN)-sponsored judicial mechanism based at the headquarters of the Cambodian military. This article examines how the decision to base the ECCC at this location was made. In order to do so it draws on a significant quantity of internal documents from the UN Office of Legal Affairs that relate to the negotiations establishing the ECCC. An earlier trial, the 1979 People’s Revolutionary Tribunal, had been held in central Phnom Penh at Chaktomuk Theatre, and this symbolic venue was initially proposed as the home for the ECCC. However, the Cambodian government proposed the current site that is part of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces headquarters, to which the UN agreed. The headquarters are located on the outskirts of the city, and this has hindered public accessibility and positive symbolism and is instead an indication of the level of control the Cambodian government has been able to exert over the Tribunal.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)279-300
    Number of pages22
    JournalContemporary Southeast Asia
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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