Angelina Jolie, Hollywood actress and a high-profile philanthropist, seems to have made an error in judgement when she expanded her charitable operations in Cambodia.
In 2002, Jolie purchased two plots of land for her Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which is named after her adopted Cambodian son. The seller of the land in northwest Cambodia was Tim Tith who has been alleged to be a mass murderer by the prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh.
Tith was brought up on charges of crimes against humanity at the tribunal in 2009. As a senior Khmer Rouge leader, he oversaw purges of other party officials and “cleanings” of the general population. He was in position of authority during the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime under which an estimated 1.7 million people died of famine, torture and executions.
Although Jolie’s land deal with TIth precedes the tribunal’s existence, she has become under scrutiny by the international press, stating that although Jolie didn’t know the details about Tith’s past, he made her aware of the fact that he had held a senior position in the government of the communist leader Pol Pot.
The Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation was created in 2003, for the conservation of Cambodia’s northern territories biodiversity and has since then expanded to reforestation, community protected area, park management and integrated rural development projects.