Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Justice and transition in Cambodia 1979-2014 : process, meaning and narrative
Author: Gray, Tallyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 0384
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The Cambodian genocide and its aftermath are unique in that key leaders are on trial thirty years after their regime fell. This creates particular problems : the UNbacked trials (ECCC) assume the normative aims of the transitional justice paradigm, but exist in context of multiple ‘transitions’ preceding or running concurrent to them, creating complex competing and complementary ideas about what constitutes ‘justice.’ Over the previous thirty years transition was a social process; alongside legalistic input it included (and still includes) religious discourse, ceremony, ritual and modes of expression not employed or recognised in courts. This thesis concerns the many and dynamic ways in which the concept of justice is discussed, narrated and manifested both inside and outside formal mechanisms. The thesis concludes that the meaning of justice resides in a nexus of memory, time and imagination emergent from the act of telling the story, in a way that effectively lodges it within intergenerational cultural memory. Justice is a process without fixed ends. Justice necessarily involves narrative; the way the past is narrated is key to the application and realisation of justice. Expanding on Lyotard’s theory of Grand Narratives, I contend that justice narrates itself through ‘phrase regimes’ which I explore within three legalistic processes : the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal , the trial of Pol Pot , and the narrative streams emerging from the hybrid United Nations/ Royal Government of Cambodia Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) . I contend each of these demands narrative conformity to ideological and political templates (Marxism, Liberalism). I further contend that these grand narratives collapse in Cambodia. Their limitations are exposed on encounter with what Ricoeur calls ‘the small voices of history.’ In ‘small’ narrations, via socio-cultural processes such as religious ritual, legalistic narratives of justice may overlap, but the individual voices often transgress, or are marginalised by, the grand narratives. The latter part of the thesis goes on to explore transition and justice from ‘outside’ legalistic mechanisms, and discusses ideas of justice arising from within the society in whose interests these mechanisms allegedly act. Through observing and attending numerous religious ceremonies and personally collecting 59 ethnographic interviews with monks, former KR cadres, witnesses, civil parties, historical and cultural figures from multiple communities in 10 provinces in the country I have established some basis for situating individual voices into a specifically Cambodian intellectual context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available