Khmernews

Brother Number 2 Brought To Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Posted by khmernews on October 8, 2007

Rithy

Pailin: 86-year-old Nuon Chea, commonly known as Democratic Kampuchea Brother Number 2, was brought from Pailin to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on September 19, 2007.
Among 5 suspects listed in the Introductory Submission handed over to the Co-Investigating Judges, Nuon Chea is the second man who has been arrested while Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, former chief of Tuol Sleng prison, has already been placed in the provisional detention. Only 3 more Khmer Rouge suspects have not been disclosed.

“Today, the Co-Investigating Judges issued an arrest warrant to bring Nuon Chea to the Co-Prosecutors for questioning. However, [he] has not been accused of any crime yet,” Reach Sambath, spokesman for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, told Kampuchea Thmey. He said that Nuon Chea would appear before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Co-Prosecutors for preliminary interrogation. “Nuon Chea has rights to Cambodian or foreign lawyer as he wishes,” he added.

Reach Sambath pointed out that although Nuon Chea had been brought to the tribunal, it didn’t mean he was guilty since the Co-Investigating Judges had not accused him yet. “We will know after the Co-Prosecutors question Nuon Chea. We will know soon whether or not he is accused,” he said.

•    Before the arrest

One day before Nuon Chea was arrested at his home next to Thai border, Co-Prosecutors and officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal met and negotiated with Pailin’s Municipal Governor Ei Chheang in case there was any reaction against the arrest of Nuon Chea. After the negotiation with Pailin authorities, those Co-Prosecutors and officials dared not stay in Pailin, but returned to Battambang for accommodation.

•    At 6 a.m., authorities in uniforms arrived at Nuon Chea’s house

In the early morning of September 19, the Co-Prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal led officials and some forces from Battambang to Pailin. They gathered their forces at 6.30 a.m. at Pailin town before they set off to Nuon Chea’s house near Cambodian-Thai border in Psar Prum, Stung Kach, Sala Krao, which is located 18 kilometres from the focal point of Pailin. Although the Co-Prosecutors hadn’t arrived at Nuon Chea’s house, some authorities including armed military police and police were already there.

•    A helicopter landed near Nuon Chea’s house shortly after the arrival of the Co-Prosecutors

Around 7.10 a.m. the Co-Prosecutors arrived at Nuon Chea’s house and talked “normally” in order not to shock his family members. At 9.46 a.m. a helicopter landed around 200 metres away from Nuon Chea’s house. As the helicopter landed, the villagers were surprised with doubts. Nuon Chea’s son, however, knew clearly that they came for his father.

At that time, around 80 forces in uniform and plain clothes had already surrendered Nuon Chea’s house, but the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s officials were still chatting with Nuon Chea before they told him that he would be brought to Phnom Penh. The Co-Prosecutors also brought along a doctor to check Nuon Chea’s health before boarding the helicopter.

After the medical checkup taken under Nuon Chea’s wooden house, officials of the tribunal ordered some people to buy rice with delicious foods for Nuon Chea before the flight. No matter how delicious the rice was, Nuon Chea could have very little of it. “Though the rice is delicious, but the heart is not happy,” he said, adding that his old age didn’t allow him to eat much. Despite the motivation and delicious foods given to Nuon Chea, Nuon Say burst out: “There are a lot of people related to the Khmer Rouge regime, why is only my father brought [to the tribunal]? The court is so unfair.”

•    All roads leading to Nuon Chea’s village were cordoned off

The medical checkup and some talks with Nuon Chea were made while other authorities were tightening the security outside by cordoning off all roads leading to the village in which Nuon Chea was living. At around 10.25 a.m. after the coordination, Nuon Chea was brought into a car which then drove him to the waiting helicopter.

?    Nuon Chea facial expression was not changed

Although Nuon Chea knew that he would be sent to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, he still smiled and walked into the helicopter, escorted by 3 policemen. Nuon Chea was wearing dark blue trousers and flower long-sleeved shirt. Despite Nuon Chea’s normal expression, his children and grandchildren were crying loudly, feeing sorry for their old father and grandfather.

?    Nuon Chea’s children and grandchildren complained about Nuon Chea’s health condition

After Nuon Chea was placed in the helicopter, Nuon Chea’s children and grandchildren cried even more loudly as the helicopter started to take off. They raised their hands to wish him “good luck”. They shouted that other related people had to be arrested too. However, they said that Nuon Chea was seriously ill in his old age and would die soon. “They should let him die in his home, so that it’s easy to celebrate his funeral according to Cambodian tradition,” they said.

?    The helicopter landed in Phnom Penh airport at 11.50 a.m.

Nuon Chea was not handcuffed during the arrest. At around 10.30 a.m. the helicopter had already left Pailin. The helicopter arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport at around 11.50 a.m., and then Nuon Chea was brought in a waiting tribunal’s car to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, located along National Road Number 4 in Chaom Chau, Dangkao.  Local and international journalists were waiting to take Nuon Chea’s pictures at the western entrance of the tribunal, but the car that drove Nuon Chea made a detour to the eastern entrance. The journalists who were waiting there showed their disappointment over the failure to take pictures of Nuon Chea. Nuon Chea was brought into the tribunal building, but journalists were not allowed to enter.

?    Pailin’s citizens were silent as usual

The people in Pailin were not surprised with the arrest of Nuon Chea while Nuon Chea’s neighbouring villagers were startled at first but then calmed down. However, most of the people living in Pailin have not received the news that Nuon Chea was brought to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal yet.

Unofficial Translation

-Extracted from Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 6, #1449, Thursday, September 20, 2007 .

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