Photographs of more than 1,200 inmates of a Khmer Rouge torture centre are to made public for the first time, researchers said Friday.
A collection of 1,242 images from the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh were given to The Documentation Centre of Cambodia research institute on Thursday by a donor who wished to remain anonymous.
The move followed the recent discovery of about 20 adult skulls and other human bones in Siem Reap province, home to Angkor Wat and other Angkor temples. The site is thought to be a mass grave for victims of the 1975-29 Khmer Rouge regime.
The previously unseen photographs would be cleaned, scanned and catalogued for public use. It was hoped the portraits could enable families to determine the fates of relatives lost during Khmer Rouge rule. The vast majority of images are accompanied by the names of the subjects.
"It contributes to the restoring of family and hope that were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge," the centre's Youk Chhang said Friday.
S-21, also known at Tuol Sleng, was once a school in suburban Phnom Penh, but from 1975 to 1979 it became a centre for torture and execution.
Scholars said they believe at least 20,000 people were taken to S-21. A dozen were believed to have survived the prison, which is now a genocide museum.
In February, S-21's former chief, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Comrade Duch, saw his sentence for crimes against humanity and war crimes raised to life in an appeal judgement before the Khmer Rouge tribunal.
The tribunal is investigating crimes against humanity during the Maoist Khmer Rouge's rule, during which an estimated 1.7 million to 2.2 million people died.
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