Five KR Ministers Tortured At Tuol Sleng Prison And Killed At Boeng Cheung Aek.
Posted by khmernews on August 3, 2007
Researchers of the Khmer Rouge (KR) history and KR leaders’ important activities say that the government of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime led by a small group of the members of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), headed by party president Pol Pot and Nuon Chea or brother number 2, known as a close assistant to Pol Pot since 1963.
Those few revolutionary people seemed to have shared the ministries to be responsible since before the victory on April 17, 1975. It has been found out that though 8 of 13 KR ministers were still alive until 1990, 5 were executed between 1976 and 1978 for betraying the revolution during the DK regime.
Most of those KR ministers were tortured at the S-21 torture center, known as Tuol Sleng prison, first before they were brought to be executed at Boeng Cheung Aek near Phnom Penh city.
Kaing Khek Iev alias Duch, chief of Tuol Sleng prison, was the one who received orders from and reported to Son Sen directly. In 1978, as the war with Vietnamese troops along the border was getting even worse, Son Sen was assigned to be in charge of military affairs. It was at that time that the infamous Tuol Sleng prison was under the control of Nuon Chea.
The researchers said that some documents which had been left in Tuol Sleng prison show that a lot of senior KR cadres and soldiers were “destroyed” at Nuon Chea’s commands. Though there is the evidence, Nuon Chea still overrules the accusation.
“I was in the National Assembly, not in the operational power and the National Assembly couldn’t prosecute anyone. As a deputy secretary, I only had right to request for firing members or lowering their position since the party didn’t have right to order killing anyone.”
Kaing Kek Iev, known as Duch, told Nate Thayer in 1999 before he was captured by the government that his former boss Nuon Chea had ordered him to kill hundreds of prisoners. Amongst those prisoners, there was also Vorn Vet, deputy-Prime Minister in charge of Economy, he said.
“Interrogators tortured Vorn Vet by soaking him in ice water before he was brought to be killed in Boeng Cheung Aek,” said Duch, adding that he was suspicious with decisions made by the party after he saw people and cadres who were close to him captured to Tuol Sleng prison one after another.
The senior cadres who Duch thought were always loyal to the revolutionary organization or Angkar included Vorn Vet, who recommended Duch to Bureau M-13, a secret prison in Amleang before the liberation in 1975.
Since Duch was a close man to Vorn Vet, the Angkar suspected Duch’s loyalty toward the party. It was at that time that the Angkar, controlled by Nuon Chea, ordered Duch to uncover Vorn Vet’s grave and take picture the putrid body to show that Vorn Vet had really been killed.
Other KR cadres who were close to Duch and who were brought to Tuol Sleng prison included Kae Kimhuot and Chhay Kimhuo. Having seen all of these, Duch started to worry about his own security and thought that it would be his turn soon.
Another minister of the KR regime who was executed at Tuol Sleng prison was Hou Nim, information minister and a former student from France. He was a scholar who had left-wing political tendency.
“At that time I saw Hou Nim in a very short time and that was all. Hou Nim might have been killed since he was clearly against Pol Pot,” said Nhem En, former KR photographer at Tuol Sleng prison.
Nhem En said Hou Nim was against Pol Pot because he wanted soldiers to have salaries, motor, and cars. Especially, he wanted to have market and prevent the evacuation of people from cities, Nhem En said. Hou Nim protested against many things since he was a scholar and also an important political figure.
It should be noticed that no one dares to be responsible for crimes committed during the KR regime. In contrast, they always denied that there were “killing policies” during their reign.
Now, the KR Tribunal has started its legal procedure in which the trials are expected to be held in early 2008. But what the general public is concerning about is the budgets of the KR Tribunal since up to present Cambodian side still hasn’t fulfilled its part.
Meanwhile, Nuon Chea is worried whether his declining health could allow him to clarify in the ECCC. But he said that if was lucky enough, he would use the KR Tribunal as his last battle field.
Concerning the news which has been published about Ieng Thirith and Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea said that Ieng Sary hadn’t been related to any command, and Ieng Thirith too since she had been only in charge of social affairs.
Whether anyone is right or wrong or who killed Khmers, we don’t want to comment on it and will leave this historical task to the KR Tribunal to take legal action. Whatever happens, just don’t let the tribunal stuck in the middle.
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 14, #3220, Thursday, July 26, 2007.