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Peace Research Institutions and Projects


The Cambodian Genocide Program

In 1994, the US Congress adopted the Cambodian Genocide Act, expressing the United States' commitment to the pursuit of justice for the victims of the genocide in Cambodia. As a result, the Cambodian Genocide Program (CGP) was set up at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, to document the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot. The Cambodian genocide is regarded as one of the worst human tragedies of the modern age. After the Khmer Rouge revolution, the Pol Pot regime murdered, starved, or tortured to death 1.7 million people--almost a quarter of Cambodia's population.

The Cambodian Genocide Program is a multi-disciplinary scheme in which several departments of Yale University work together to collect, catalogue, and study all the available facts about Cambodian history in the period 1975-9. This data is to be made available to any truth commission, court, or tribunal that asserts jurisdiction over Khmer Rouge crimes. In addition, the CGP seeks to generate a critical, analytical understanding of genocide which can be made use of to prevent political violence against populations elsewhere in the world. Shortly after its foundation, the CGP set up the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. This is an international non-governmental organization run entirely by Cambodians.

Since January 1997, the results of the CGP's research have been accessible on the Internet. The CGP's website contains the most comprehensive set of data ever assembled on Khmer Rouge violations of human rights, as well as a list of previously unknown material obtained by the CGP staff in Phnom Penh. The CGP website comprises four data bases: bibliographic, biographic, geographic, and photographic. The CGP's activities have also included the commissioning of new research on the Khmer Rouge period, the training of Cambodian graduate students at Yale, and the conduct of two training sessions on international criminal law and humanitarian law in Phnom Penh.

Contact: Professor Ben Kiernan (Director)/Craig Etcheson (Manager), Cambodian Genocide Program, PO Box 208206, New Haven, CT 06520, USA, Tel.: +1 (203) 432-9346, Fax: +1 (203) 432-9381, e-mail: cgp@yale.edu, http://www.yale.edu/cgp

Documentation Center of Cambodia (Phnom Penh), e-mail: dccam@pactok.peg.apc.org

Strata Research Zagreb

Strata Research is a private, independent, non-governmental organization set up in October 1996 in Zagreb. It provides the legal and organizational framework for the South-East European Security Studies (SEESS) programme, a series of international, interdisciplinary long-term research-projects dealing with security issues in the successor states of former Yugoslavia. The aim of Strata's work is to promote the development of democracy in the region, to supply information and institutional assistance to international military and humanitarian organizations, and to develop schemes that will help bring about peace, regional stability, and co-operation.

The project gathers and interprets relevant data on security, and attempts to adapt existing security-theories for use in former Yugoslavia. Another of Strata's tasks is to create a network of regional and international institutions and researchers and to set up various channels and forums for the exchange of theories, methods, and empirical data between local and international actors. Strata also organizes public debates on security issues and seeks to influence the political and military leadership on the ground.

Strata Research's first project was devoted to the problem of mines--one of the most enduring effects of the war in former Yugoslavia. The findings of the first phase of this project were published by Ozren Zunec, one of the co-founders of Strata Research, in his book Planeta Mina (translated into English as The Mine Planet: Technical, Tactical, Humanitarian, Social, Environmental and Legal Aspects of Use of Landmines in Contemporary Armed Conflicts). Zunec gives an overview of the various aspects of mine-use in present-day armed conflicts. Particular attention is paid to the situation in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where a grave threat is posed by the presence of some 5 to 9 million mines. Against the background of experiences in these areas, the book makes an urgent appeal for a ban on anti-personnel mines. Planeta Mina also reproduces a number of relevant legal documents and an appendix containing security-tips for the civilian population in mine-infested areas. The follow-up project planned by Strata Research, entitled `Mine Warfare and Demining in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina', will deal not only with mine-use and its consequences, but also with current demining operations, as a contribution to the demining efforts there. A number of other research publications are planned, as a way of bolstering independent security-studies in the region and thus contributing to the development of civil-society institutions in the emerging democracies.

`The International Community and the Locals: The Intercultural Interactions in the War and the Peace Process in Former Yugoslavia' is the title of another Strata project which is investigating the influence of various factors on interaction between local and international political communities during the war and the peace process. The project is looking at: (1) the structure and operation of political systems; (2) values, norms, and beliefs; (3) lites, masses, and public opinion; (4) military doctrines. The ultimate aim is to identify and explain various misconceptions and misunderstandings that eventually led to failures, and to develop models of cultural awareness that might be of use in future conflict-resolution and in efforts to achieve peace in culturally complex situations. The project is designed to have both research-related and practical components (workshop training).

Strata's current activities also include the preparation of a regional conference on South-East European security studies. The conference will assess the state of security-studies in the post-communist states of eastern Europe and encourage their development. It will also act as a forum for independent discussion of regional and national security-issues and provide the impetus for a number of joint projects by the participating institutions and individuals. The conference will probably take place in May or June 1998.

Contact: Strata Research, Brace Cvijica 20, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia, Tel.: +385 (1) 563 496, Fax: +385 (1) 455 47 22.

Studiengesellschaft für Friedensforschung e.V. München

The Studiengesellschaft für Friedensforschung e.V. München (Munich Society for Peace Research) was set up in 1958, at a time when there was as yet no such thing as German peace research. As a result, the society, under the direction of its founder and long-time chairperson, the psychotherapist Christel Küpper, saw its main task as being to make people aware of peace and war as legitimate subjects of research and thus prepare the way for the development of a branch of research dealing specifically with peace. After 1966, the society concentrated its attentions on peace education and educational theory and on translating its findings into educational and pedagogical practice. Given the increasing sensitivity of the public to peace issues during the 1970s, and given the growth in the number of institutions working in the area of peace research, the society shifted its focus onto lower-profile areas of peace research.

Following the political turn-around in Germany in 1982, a brake was put on the further development of peace research and peace education in the Federal Republic, and it became more difficult to obtain funding for research projects. During this period, the society worked mostly through working-parties: the 'New Security Policy Initiative' (1981-5) aimed to initiate a rational public debate on security issues and alternative approaches to them with peace-researchers and politicians; and the `Working Party on Socio-psychological Aspects of Peace' (1982-4) focused on the interplay between individual fear/hatred and collective destructiveness. The society also continued with its long-running `Work-Group on Peace Education' (established in 1960) and the publications related to it, as well as publication of its `Denkanstoße' series (begun in 1984), which attempts, via brief reports on topical issues, to encourage readers to take a critical look at various issues relating to peace and security.

The shifts that have occurred in overall security-conditions since the end of the East-West conflict have had an impact on the work of the society. Its attention is now focused on the virulent nature of regional conflicts--a virulence that has produced a steady increase in violent conflicts--and on the new attraction exerted by nationalist-cum-chauvinist patterns of thinking and action. Consideration of the risks and negative developments associated with the growth in the North-South divide and of the ever more acute ecological problems has also occupied a more prominent place in the society's work during the 1990s.

The society has highlighted the fact that there are still a number of explosive problems standing in the way of peaceful co-existence. Because of this, it sees its present task as being to inform and explain, to make suggestions and provide assistance in the investigation and handling of relevant issues, and to take a critical look at the arguments employed in the discussion about peace. It also seeks to promote dialogue between people with differing opinions, to support peaceful conflict resolution, and to help avert violent conflicts through long-term prevention.

Contact: Studiengesellschaft für Friedensforschung e.V. München, Aldringenstr. 10, D-80639 München, Tel.: +49 (89) 160637, Fax: +49 (89) 167458.


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