Former Khmer Rouge Diplomats and Keat Chhun Could Be Called As Witnesses

Posted by khmernews on October 8, 2007

Srey Ka

A reliable source reported that some former Khmer Rouge diplomats including Keat Chhun, present minister of Economy and Finance, could be called as witnesses in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The agreement between the Cambodian government and the United Nations states that the Khmer Rouge trials will be carried out on those Khmer Rouge leaders responsible for mass killings between 1975 and 1979 and their involvement in the Khmer Rouge Angkar from 1979 to 1990.
During the Khmer Rouge regime, the three main figures were Pol Pot, Nuon Chea and Son Sen. They were the Khmer Rouge security committee responsible for killings. Among the three, Khmer Rouge Secretary General Pol Pot and Defense Minister Son Sen already died. Nuon Chea was not only the Khmer Rouge communist ideologue, but also the president of the Khmer Rouge National Assembly. Although he was responsible for the civil affairs, he was also the security committee member in charge of Tuol Sleng prison or bureau S-21 during the regime.

According to various documents, Nuon Chea sometimes served as the prime minister of the Khmer Rouge regime. Nuon Chea played a very important role during the Khmer Rouge regime; therefore, he was called “Brother Number 2”. After the arrest of Nuon Chea on September 19, 2007, 43-year-old Nuon Say, son of Nuon Chea, claimed the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had no evidence to proof the Khmer Rouge had killed people. Nuon Say believed that he father would be capable to reveal the truth of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Some observers also agree that only Nuon Chea can reveal the truth of the Khmer Rouge regime as he was the most important figure after Pol Pot.  However, other three speculated suspects including Kieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith will not be overlooked too.

A former senior Khmer Rouge cadre who is living in Pailin and was once close man to Nuon Chea told a foreign newspaper that the people wanted to see Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith brought to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal too, adding that these people should not be allowed to stay freely for too long.

“Indeed, Khieu Samphan was just the figurehead of the Khmer Rouge regime. However, he was a main figure who was related to the creation of the Killing Fields regime,” said the former Khmer Rouge cadre, adding that Ieng Sary and his wife were deeply involved in the killings. The former Khmer Rouge cadre claimed that Ieng Sary was responsible for the killings in Boeng Trabaek camp which was called “rehabilitation center” during the Khmer Rouge regime.

A source close to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal reported that Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith could not avoid being arrested.  The source said that after the arrests of Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith, other 15 people would be called as either suspect or witness. The source, however, didn’t tell the names of those 15 people.

Meanwhile, another reliable source pointed out that some former Khmer Rouge diplomats as well as Keat Chhun, former Pol Pot’s advisor, would be called as witnesses. Keat Chhun, former personal advisor to Pol Pot, stayed with the Khmer Rouge Angkar from 1975 until 1990, when he defected to Cambodian People’s Party from the Khmer Rouge. Former Khmer Rouge diplomats who would be called as witnesses are Chan Yourann, Tep Khunnal, Mok Ben, Kao Bun Heng, Suon Sikoeun and so on.

The source continued by saying that Tep Khunnal was an important witness because he had been staying with Pol Pot until Pol Pot died [in 1998]. Moreover, he married the second wife of Pol Pot after Pol Pot died. Tep Khunnal is not only the present Malay’s district governor but also a well-known businessman in the Cambodian-Thai border district once controlled by the Khmer Rouge.

The source close to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that the subpoena of witnesses would not affect their position in the government.  The source claimed that some of the witnesses are present military commanders, senior officials in the government, and members of the National Assembly. However, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in accord to the law can call for those people to testify as witnesses when the trials are held.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3271, Monday, September 24, 2007.


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