Ieng Sary Keeps Silence Whereas Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan Are Trying To Disavow Crimes During The “Killing Fields” Regime

Posted by khmernews on July 31, 2007

Kaet Somrech

Recently, the Co-Prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge (KR) Tribunal have just sent an Introductory Submission which contains facts that may constitute crimes to the Office of Co-Investigating Judges. The Co-Prosecutors have requested to preliminarily accuse 5 suspects. Foreign diplomats, civil society’s officials and some Cambodians think that the long-delayed KR Tribunal is making progress towards justice.

Although the KR Tribunal’s Co-Prosecutors haven’t made public the names of the five suspects, various newspapers have published the pictures of five potential KR suspects including Kaing Khek Iev, known as Duch, former head of Tuol Sleng prison or infamous S-21 torture center, Ieng Sary, former KR deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nuon Chea, former president of the [KR] National Assembly, and Ieng Thirith, former KR Social Affairs minister, and Khieu Samphan, former president of  Democratic Kampuchea State Presidium. Amongst the 5 suspects, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have already reacted that they would be amongst people indicted.

Nuon Chea, former president of the National Assembly and brother number 2 of the Khmer Rouge regime, has denied that he had been related to murders during the period his group controlled the country.  Nuon Chea, moreover, claimed that he would have a long life and was ready to take part in the trials in early 2008 if he received an “invitation”. Also, Nuon Chea is looking for a Cambodian lawyer to represent him in court of the Extraordinary Chambers.

Khieu Samphan, former president of Khmer Rouge State Presidium, bragged that he was a patriot and had not been related to the crimes committed during the Democratic Kampuchea regime. Khieu Samphan claimed that he had prepared evidence and documents to defend himself in court and already sought help from a French lawyer named Jacques Vergés. Meanwhile, Khieu Samphan pointed out that all the truth would be revealed in the trials of the Extraordinary Chambers.

However, Ieng Sary, former KR deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, still keeps silence without any reaction. The unusual silence from Ieng Sary while Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are trying to deny responsibilities is said that Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, have already gone abroad since Ieng Sary goes abroad very often to heal his serious illnesses. However, Ieng Vuth, Pailin’s deputy governor overruled the news and said that his father, Ieng Sary, hadn’t fled abroad while the tribunal was starting to indict the suspects.

Ieng Vuth has recently told the press that his parents (Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith) were living in Pailin and were in good health conditions. “Their illnesses have been relieved,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to make much comment on the KR Tribunal since it could affect political leaders and caused problems. Ieng Vuth is optimistic that the government will be commonsensical to give justice to his parents.

Both Cambodians living inside and outside Cambodia have expressed their great concerns that the former KR leaders might die before the trials take place since those former leaders are aging and some are affected by diseases while the indictments and trials have yet to be made and held. Reach Sambath, spokesman to the KR Tribunal, acknowledged the concerns but said the Extraordinary Chambers which were participated by the UN also were moving forward.

Cambodians want the trials of former KR leaders to go underway soon since they want to know who the masterminds of the KR regime are and the reasons they caused the mass murder of 1.7 million people during the period of 3 years 8 months and 20 days.

According to senior KR Tribunal’s officials, the KR trials will start in early 2008 if there are no more obstacles. However, observers of the tribunal said that this tribunal could face some more obstacles, especially the problems related to the budgets which could have run out by April 2008.

However, analysts said that whether or not the tribunal faced obstacles depended on whether or not the government had the willingness to find justice for victims and end the continuing patterns of impunity in Cambodia. The budgetary shortfalls won’t be a problem if the Cambodian government has the willingness to find justice for victims and end the impunity since there are some businessmen wanting to contribute their money only in response to the appeal from the government.

Informal Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3221, Friday, July 27, 2007.


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