Omar Havana

Photographer
    
The Bucolic Life of a Cambodian Grandmother Accused of Mass Killings
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Nationality: Spanish
Biography: Omar Havana, 1975 Granada, Spain. Spanish Freelance Photojournalist. Based in Brussels, Belgium. Previously based in France 2017-2021, Nepal 2014-2015 and Cambodia 2008 - 2014 ; 2015-2017. Omar has worked as a professional photojournalist since... MORE
Public Story
The Bucolic Life of a Cambodian Grandmother Accused of Mass Killings
Copyright Omar Havana 2022
Date of Work Feb 2017 - Feb 2017
Updated May 2020
Topics Anlong Veng, Asia, Asia Photographer, Cambodia, Civil Rights, Crime, Documentary, Editorial, Essays, Europe Photographer, Genocide, Human Rights, Im Chaen, Khmer Rouge, Lifestyle, Media, News, Oddar Meanchey Province, Paris Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Politics, Prison, Southeast Asia, The New York Times, War

In this dusty mountain hamlet on the Thai border, she is known as Grandma Chaem.

The tiny 74-year-old lives peacefully in a snug, stilted house surrounded by papaya, lime, and custard-apple trees. Her children and grandchildren live nearby. She grows cucumbers and donates to her local pagoda, chews betel leaf and tends her cows.

But Im Chaem, the woman enjoying this apparently idyllic retirement, is accused of overseeing the killing of tens of thousands of people as a Khmer Rouge official in northwestern Cambodia in 1977 and 1978. In 2015, a United Nations-backed tribunal charged her with crimes against humanity, including mass murder, extermination, and enslavement.

The tribunal’s investigating judges quietly dropped the charges, raising questions about whether they had yielded to pressure from the Cambodian government, which opposed the prosecution.

Photography: © Omar Havana for The New York Times. All Rights are Reserved

Intro by Julia Wallace for The New York Times

This story was done while on assignment for The New York Times




LinkedIn Icon Facebook Icon Twitter Icon
3,136

Also by Omar Havana —

Story

Escaping War

Omar Havana / Suceava
Story

23:30 Last Train To Bucharest

Omar Havana / Suceava, Romania
Story

23:30 Last Train To Bucharest

Omar Havana / Suceava, Romania
Story

Portfolio Retrato

Omar Havana / Bruselas, Belgica
Story

Portfolio Eventos

Omar Havana / Bruselas, Belgica
Story

Portfolio Portraits

Omar Havana / Brussels, Belgium
Story

Portfolio Événements

Omar Havana / Brussels, Belgium
Story

Portfolio Events

Omar Havana / Brussels, Belgium
Story

Portfolio NGO Food Security and Agriculture

Omar Havana / Brussels, Belgium
Story

Portfolio NGO Education

Omar Havana / Brussels, Belgium
Story

Portfolio NGO

Omar Havana / Brussels, Belgium
Story

From Rice Fields to Ice Rink: Cambodia

Omar Havana / Phnom Penh
Story

The Big C

Omar Havana / Bhaktapur
Story

A Bloodbath in the Name of Gadhimai

Omar Havana / Bariyarpur, Nepal
Story

The Forgotten

Omar Havana / Lele, Nepal
Story

Endurance

Omar Havana / Nepal
Story

35 years searching for justice in Cambodia

Omar Havana / Phnom Penh
Story

CEMENTery

Omar Havana / Kampong Trach
Story

They Smashed Banks for Pol Pot. Now They are Founding Them

Omar Havana / Malai cambodia
Story

Breaking tradition among Nepal's Maithil women

Omar Havana / Janakpur, Nepal
Story

Bonjour, Paris

Omar Havana / Paris
Story

Trapped: the Dark Side of Cambodia's Beer Gardens

Omar Havana / Siem Reap
Story

When the Earth Shook Nepal

Omar Havana / Nepal
Story

A woman's Cry: The detention of Tep Vanny

Omar Havana / Phnom Penh
The Bucolic Life of a Cambodian Grandmother Accused of Mass Killings by Omar Havana
Join us
For more access