The new year typically brings a sense of renewel; of second chances and opportunities to change. These qualities are of particular revelence this year as the formerly genocide-stricken countries of Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Cambodia begin preparations for the closure of the UN supported International Criminal Tribunals. On December 31st, 2014, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will close their doors after twenty years of intensive work. The Cambodian Khmer Rouge Tribunal, meanwhile, will continue operating through 2014, with plans to close in 2015. Such plans undoubtably beg the question: where are these countries now?
The answer to this question is not an easy one to come by. Studying tribunal indictment and conviction numbers, intermarriage statistics or birthrates certainly provide critical indicators, but quantifying healing and reconciliation is ultimately limiting. As a story-telling organization, 3 Generations believes in the power and value of the human voice to spur healing and reconciliation within the storyteller and within his/her community. Healing, of course, has no timeline or limits and looking at the stories of survivors like Mom Soeun, Monica Chum, Freddy Mutunguha, or Patrick Irregura, for example, we can see the healing process still in action ten, twenty, and thirty years after the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides.
The closures of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Cambodia this year and next will not, therefore, mark the end of these dark chapters of history. Rather, the tribunal closures will mark the beginning of a new phase of healing; one that we must hope will be characterized by cultural rebirth, self-actualization, and nationalism and one that will undoubtably be built around the memory of the shared tragedy. It is for this reason that 3 Generations has made an effort to begin collecting stories of cultural regeneration to display alongside our survivor stories. These efforts, however, require both time and money. Donate today, and you can help us shed light on the stories and rebuilding efforts of these incredible survivors.