An article appearing in the September 30 issue of the French newspaper Le Monde suggests that Im Chem, who served as chief of Preah Net Preah district in Banteay Meanchey province during Democratic Kampuchea, is among the five suspects named in introductory submissions filed by the prosecution last month.
The lede of the article -- written by Jacques Follorou and titled "An Ex-Khmer Rouge Claims the Right To Be Forgotten" -- states: "At first glance, it is difficult to picture that Im Chem, a slender-looking grandmother with high cheek bones, is among the five new people accused by the KR Tribunal in mid-September", according to an English translation available on KI Media. A subhead in the print edition describes Im Chem as "one of the accused". The article provides no evidence and cites no sources in support of this claim.
UN court spokesman Lars Olsen on Sunday said the report was "pure speculation", adding: "The court cannot confirm anything at this point because the names have not been made public."
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy sent a scanned print version to various media outlets on Friday. In the image, pen marks highlighted the following passage (again quoted from the KI Media translation): "Numerous former KR cadres currently occupy powerful positions. They defected prior to the fall of the [KR] regime to escape the internal purges. It was the cases of Sar Kheng, the minister of Interior, and of Hor Nam Hong, the minister of Foreign Affairs. Hun Sen, the prime minister, was also one of Pol Pot's faithful followers, he defected to the enemy, the Vietnamese."
Sam Rainsy is scheduled to appear in a French appeal court on October 8 to try to overturn a defamation and disinformation conviction stemming from an autobiography in which he reportedly accuses Hor Namhong of heading the Boeung Trabek “re-education camp”, where diplomats and government officials from the Lon Nol and Norodom Sihanouk regimes were incarcerated by the Khmer Rouge.