The Devil Knows You're Here (upcoming)
'THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE HERE'
While the world watches the most important War Crimes Tribunal since Nuremberg, Cambodian survivors of the Khmer Rouge still suffer nightmares from one of the darkest hours in history, when Pol Pot 's chilling reign turned their life into a horror story, and turned 'Kampuchea' into the scene of one of the world's most brutal genocides.
But can justice and healing ever be found, while the 'devil' knows they're here?
Survivors of the Khmer Rouge line up to be "cases" at the trial, and speak out about the murders of their family, friends, and nearly one quarter of the Cambodian people. Some find it empowering, to face the 'devil' that has haunted them, and turn from victims into advocates.
Others find it triggers nightmares from the past they would rather forget. Some witnesses on the stand experience post-traumatic stress whilst giving testimony. Refugees in the wider diaspora of asylum seekers experience post-traumatic stress while trying to pick up the shattered fragments of their life in a foreign land.
Even human rights lawyers, judges, as well as psychiatrists treating the victims find they experience 'vicarious trauma' from hearing horrors that are beyond comprehension.
And for others- there are sightings of 'ghosts'. Or strange calls from people trying to silence testimony against the Khmer Rouge. A Cambodian historian receives death threats, for his involvement in the trial and his efforts to document the brutal past that he can never forget.
Allegations build of rigged elections and political interference in the UN war crimes tribunal- with resignations of judges and key lawyers turning the court into a revolving door of delayed justice. Cries of impunity are equalled only by whispers of corruption, in off the record conversations in the dark of night in Phnom Penh. They are fuelled by statements from a leader soon to boast three decades of rule: In the midst of case 2 in 2012, the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen a former Khmer Rouge cadre, declared there will be no further trials.
In January 2014 the conflict escalates, with 5 sweatshop workers, protesting for a minimum wage above slave labour rates, killed in military gunfire during a government crackdown on the opposition’s protests over a rigged election. The filmmaker receives threats over her efforts to save one of the shot sweatshop workers, finding herself a witness to corruption, experiencing extortion first-hand and learning explosive untold information about BOTH political parties. The international outcry about impunity and Cambodian human rights abuses grows louder, with protesters calling Hun Sen “Pol Pot 2”, experts observing seeds of genocide in the growing anti-Vietnamese sentiment in the country, and the opposition stating that the people who committed genocide are still in power.
Are the chilling fingers of the Khmer Rouge still pulling strings, to delay the justice they have waited three decades for? Or is the fear over the Khmer Rouge simply a hidden scar that can never be healed, in a country that found itself in hell?
Survivors of the Khmer Rouge seek justice, and freedom, from the devil of the mind, and the devil in their midst, while the war crimes tribunal seeks justice just a few miles from the Killing Fields, in a scary city with a broken soul. Phnom Penh.
- Nick Koujmans, UN Khmer Rouge Tribunal International Co-Prosecutor
- Chea Leang, Cambodian Attorney General and UN Khmer Rouge Tribunal national Co-prosecutor
- William Smith, UN Khmer Rouge Tribunal International Deputy Co-Prosecutor
- Chum Mei and Bou Meng;
the 2 remaining survivors of the notorious Khmer Rouge 'S21 Tuol Sleng prison, the president and vice president of the Association of Victims of the Khmer Rouge
- Sam Rainsy; Cambodian opposition party leader, interviewed for this documentary while exiled from the country and visiting the San Jose Khmer temple
- Sophany Bay (Cambodian-Californian Khmer Rouge survivor and tribunal witness, sister-in-law of General Lon Nol who twice served as Prime Minister of Cambodia and led a military coup against Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970 then became the self-proclaimed President of the newly created Khmer Republic)
- Dr Daryn Reicherter (expert witness Psychiatrist, Stanford University Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, working with Cambodian genocide survivors)
- the Cambodian monks of the San Jose Khmer temple (California), who work with Dr Reicherter with genocide survivors and are politically active in advocating for human rights in Cambodia
- Mu Sochua; Cambodian opposition party politician
- Anta Guisse Co-Lawyer for accused Khieu Samphan (former President of Democratic Kampuchea 1976-1979, one of two Khmer Rouge leaders waiting verdict on charges of crimes against humanity)
- Michael Karnavas, Former Co-Lawyer for the late accused Ieng Sary- co-founder of the Khmer Rouge, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Democratic Kampuchea, charged with crimes against humanity in the current case, and currently assigned to represent a named suspect in Case 003, currently under investigation)
- Youk Chhang, (Documentation Center of Cambodia) Khmer Rouge historian & Tribunal witness who has received death threats