Brother Number 2, Nuon Chea, Arrested For Trial

Posted by khmernews on September 26, 2007

By: Bounna-Phnom Savay and Cheay Den

Pailin, Banteay Meanchey: Nuon Chea, brother number 2 of the Khmer Rouge, was arrested and flown in a helicopter to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The latest news was reported that the court had charged Nuon Chea with crimes against humanity and war crimes and placed him in provisional detention on the same evening.
“On September 19, 2007, Nuon Chea was brought to the Office of Co-Investigating Judges of the ECCC on the execution of an arrest warrant,” said Khmer Rouge Tribunal Spokesman Reach Sambath. “Nuon Chea is the second Khmer Rouge leader detained at the tribunal for investigation,” he said, adding that the court would give him lawyers if he asked for.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said that the arrest of Nuon Chea showed the positive points of the court and its importance to the people.  “The arrest of Nuon Chea will relieve people and make them believe more in the legal system and the government,” he said, adding that it was important.

Youk Chhang considered the arrest of Nuon Chea as a progress towards justice. He also requested that the court reach its goal without obstacles.

Although the Khmer Rouge Tribunal still hasn’t released names of other former Khmer Rouge leaders to be brought to the ECCC, the media speculates that Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary are the next targets to be arrested.

The arrest of Nuon Chea was carefully carried out while national and international journalists were not allowed to take his pictures. A crowd of journalists were waiting at the entrance of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but had no chance to meet him.

“They cordoned off my father’s house at shortly before 6 am and searched the house for documents written by my father,” Nuon Say, Nuon Chea’s son, told Rasmei Kampuchea. He considered the arrest “injustice” by saying: “The Khmer Rouge Tribunal is unfair since the beginning as it raises only the war crimes between 1975 and 1979.” He questioned: “Why don’t they talk about the years between 1979 and 2000 too?”

According to Nuon Say, Nuon Chea’s wife was sad her husband was arrested.

?    Views of Nuon Chea arrest

Special intervention forces of the Protection and Intervention Department of the Ministry of Interior escorted by tens of Pailin’s police and military police arrested Nuon Chea, former president of Democratic Kampuchea National Assembly or Brother Number 2, at 8.30 a.m. on September 19, 2007. It was made in accord to the arrest warrant issued by the ECCC’s Co-Investigating Judges.

The authorities surrounded Nuon Chea’s house near a bamboo forest along Thai border in Psar Prum, Stung Kach, Sala Krao, Pailin and spent some time before they could “invite” Nuon Chea to leave his house to a car which then brought him to board a white helicopter waiting for him near Psar Prum casino. Cambodian and foreign journalists were made to stand far away from the house and the helicopter, which were very difficult for them to interview and take pictures. They could only saw Nuon Chea for a short time by using binoculars or cameras.

An assistant of Nuon Chea comes along with him while his wife and children stay in Pailin.

A Rasmei Kampuchea’s reporter in Pailin reported that Nuon Chea’s house had been watched by more than 10 policemen for several months. A bamboo fence had been barred the house. However, guests and journalists still could visit Nuon Chea and his family. Nuon Chea and his family might not have known about the arrest.

Chhuon Makara, director of ADHOC in Pailin, told Rasmei Kampuchea September 19, 2007 that on September 18, 2007 his organization held a forum for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal discussion in Ou Chra Pagoda in Tuol Sala, Pailin, Pailin and at the evening he and his colleagues visited Nuon Chea. Nuon Chea and his wife welcomed them, but didn’t talk about the politics or any Khmer Rouge’s history. Nuon Chea, 81, is weak and suffering from high blood pressure, numbness, strokes, difficult movements, headaches, and swelling.

?    Nuon Chea: birth and his activities during the Khmer Rouge regime

1926 Nuon Chea was born in the west of Cambodia in Battambang province, which was later on under the colonization of France. Between 1941 and 1946, Battambang, Siem Reap and Serei Saorphoan were controlled by Thailand.

1960:  The Communist Party of Kampuchea was established and Nuon Chea was selected as the Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee and a member of the Standing Committee, which were the top bodies responsible for the party policy. He always held these positions.

1962-63: Nuon Chea attended the annual conference of the Central Committee in the East Zone and in 1963 he became the department secretary of the Central Committee.

1965: Nuon Chea fled to Battambang, living along Kravanh Mountain ranges.

1972: Nuon Chea was the senior Khmer Rouge military commander.

1975: The Communist Party of Kampuchea, which was called “the Khmer Rouge” by the king in the 1960s, received the victory in the Civil War and created Democratic Kampuchea regime.

May 20, 1975: Nuon Chea gave a speech in a conference in Phnom Penh. The speech was about the establishment of socialism in Cambodia through agriculture and industrialization.  Nuon Chea requested to consider checking for “hidden spies” in the party, military forces, ministries and other units, government, and among the public.

1976: Nuon Chea was appointed as provisional Prime Minister for Pol Pot. Between 1975 and 1977, Nuon Chea and Pol Pot taught political education annually in Phnom Penh.

1975-1979: Almost two million Cambodians lost their lives due to the policy of Democratic Kampuchea which was intended to turn the country into an agrarian utopia and create “prosperous Khmer” like in the ancient time.

Nuon Chea has been known to have overseen the torture and killings of some 14,000 prisoners in notorious S-21 torture center, known as Tuol Sleng prison.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 15, #4394, Thursday, September 20, 2007.


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