Resilient Relations: Rethinking Truth, Reconciliation, and Justice in Cambodia

Darcie DeAngelo


In her critique of the Khmer Rouge tribunals, the legal scholar Virginia Hancock suggests that tribunal forms of justice could fail Cambodia. For them to succeed, she recommends that the tribunals account for the fact that Buddhism emphasizes a “community-oriented theory of crimes against humanity,” in that the judges should not understand harm as involving only individual culprits and victims (2008: 88). This individuality, she suggests, does not consider the modes of resilience enacted by Theravada Buddhists. As I will show in this paper, some Cambodians have dealt with violence from the past differently than a strict categorization of perpetrator and victim. Who can be held accountable for that violence if everyone is, at once, perpetrator and victim? Given this mode of being-in-the-world, how do people find resilience in the face of past trauma?


relationality; Theravada Buddhism; postwar; resilience; Cambodia

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