Using Cambodia as a case study, this article explores a circumstance under which it is not only defensible, but preferable for nongovernmental archives to claim custody of records documenting state-sponsored human rights abuses. The author posits that trust rather than inalienability is a more useful ethical lens through which to view custody disputes and argues that nongovernmental archives are often more trustworthy stewards of records documenting human rights abuses in societies still undergoing transitional justice. Finally, this paper concludes by both expanding provenance as it applies to records of human rights abuses to include survivors of abuse as key stakeholders and shifting the conceptual relationship between archives and survivors of human rights abuses from one of custodianship to one of stewardship.

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