By Matt Stradley
A human rights tribunal in Cambodia is questioning several leaders from the Khmer Rouge regime almost 25 years after their rule came to an end.
Dr. Jeffrey Sonis, associate professor in the departments of Social Medicine and Family Medicine, at UNC says the trials offer a unique opportunity to gauge the psychological effect of war trials on a society.
Sonis, the lead author in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, says the rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, in Cambodians estimated at 11% of the population is five times higher than the United States.
Accounts of the genocide estimate between one and two million people were killed to create an “agrarian collectivism” a communist concept for an ideal society.
Sonis says the study showed a quandary between feelings of justice and fears of rehashing past memories.
Sonis and his colleagues are now conducting a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to measure the effects of the trials on Cambodians over time.