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Title: The politics of killing : a comparative study of political genocide in democratic Kampuchea
Author: Johnston, Andrew Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 563X
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis focuses on the political violence that occurred between 1975 and 1979 in Cambodia under the auspices of Pol Pot and the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). Attention will also be paid to the international criminal tribunal that is currently taking place in Cambodia, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). I intend to illustrate which members of society tend to be violent, and also the exceptions. I will show which possible motives potentially underlie the desire(s) and rationale to commit acts of violence and also the various ways in which senior leaders attempt to control their subordinates against a backdrop of widespread violence. Finally, I will show how the legal framework that currently addresses such issues can be rethought in light of the empirical data that I use. My own data derives from 16 months of fieldwork in Cambodia, over 100 interviews (with both victims and perpetrators), and primary observations from 11 Cambodian prison sites. I have chosen to use varying prison sites to show the extent to which geography and hierarchy can alter the nature of the superior-subordinate command and order directives. In order to truly understand how political violence of this nature unfolds, we need to look beyond what the courtrooms are telling us, and refocus our attention at all levels where violence takes place. As I shall show, a significant amount of violence is ad hoc and indiscriminate, often taking place without knowledge (or permission) of the most senior authorities. It is therefore not a fair reflection of reality to absolve lower-level actors of the responsibility they bear for killing by disproportionately piling the actions of the many upon the shoulders of the few. Ultimately I wish to show that whilst senior leaders are the most responsible, they are not entirely responsible.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral