Khieu Samphan Ready To Testify in Khmer Rouge Tribunal
Posted by khmernews on October 8, 2007
After the arrests of two suspects Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former chief of Khmer Rouge’s Tuol Sleng prison, and Nuon Chea, former Khmer Rouge National Assembly president, listed in the Introductory Submission filed by Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Co-Prosecutors to the Office of Co-Investigating Judges, former head of state of Democratic Kampuchea Khieu Samphan has reaffirmed lately about his stance that he would not disagree to testify in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal if the tribunal summoned him.
Khieu Samphan’s wife, So Socheat, said Khieu Samphan had already decided to testify before the judges in case he was summoned by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. She claimed that her husband had scrutinised very carefully the arrest of Nuon Chea and was not worried about the future events because he had already prepared for them. “He wants to keep silence for a while, however,” she said.
“If there are evidence and legal warrant, he will go to testify…,” said So Socheat. The statement from So Socheat has attracted attention from the public as after Nuon Chea was arrested and charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, Khieu Samphan always lets his wife act as his spokeswoman. Moreover, Khieu Samphan seems to have lost his courage after Nuon Chea has been arrested and detained in the ECCC.
Concerning the problem, ECCC’s Spokesman Reach Sambath declined to give comment on the next Khmer Rouge leaders to be arrested after Nuon Chea. He said that the tribunal was working hard to perform its tasks in order that the tribunal could proceed as what Cambodians wanted.
“We are trying our best to satisfy Cambodians. The Co-Prosecutors sent an Introductory Submission containing names of five suspects whom two have been made public. We cannot give details of other 3 suspects or tell when they will be [summoned],” he said. However, observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have speculated that the other three former Khmer Rouge leaders to be brought to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in the near future are Khieu Samphan, former president of Democratic Kampuchea State Presidium, Ieng Sary, former deputy-prime minister, minister of Foreign Affairs of the Khmer Rouge regime, and Ieng Thirith, former minister for social affairs of the Khmer Rouge regime.
The Khmer Rouge regime has been condemned for mass killings of at least 1.7 million Cambodians during its reign of terror between April 17, 1975 and January 6, 1979. Up to the present time, only former Tuol Sleng prison’s chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, and Khmer Rouge National Assembly president Nuon Chea are being detained awaiting trials at the ECCC while other Khmer Rouge leaders have yet to be made public.
However, Khieu Samphan has been ready to testify in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and has observed the arrest of Nuon Chea from Pailin into the ECCC’s detention cell very carefully. Recently, Nuon Chea has boasted that he was a “patriot” and said that Vietnam was deeply involved with the Khmer Rouge regime. However, Vietnamese embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Kim denied that what Khieu Samphan had said was true.
Observers say that both Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have denied they were related to the crimes of mass killings during the Killing Fields regime. However, whether or they were related, it will depend on the real evidence shown in the trials held in the near future.
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 14, #3271, Monday, September 26, 2007.