May 16: Long Sarin, Funcinpec second secretary of the Cambodian Embassy in
Bangkok, visits Anlong Veng to meet with KR chiefs Tep Khunnal and Pech Bunreth.
(Revealed weeks later by Nhek Bun Chhay.)
May 19: Prince Ranariddh says, in a speech, he has been told of Khieu Samphan's
intention to form a political party. Hun Sen, in a speech the same day, warns against
any "political alliance" that would permit a KR return to politics.
May 21: Khieu Samphan, on KR radio from Anlong Veng, pledges his new National
Soliditary Party's support for the Funcinpec-initated National United Front of parties.
May 23: Ranariddh tells reporters that if Khieu Samphan gets a Royal amnesty
and wants to join the National United Front, "I don't have any choice but to
simply say yes".
May 25: Nhek Bun Chhay (he says later) secretly goes to Anlong Veng, meeting
mid-level guerrilla leaders.
June 1: Nhek Bun Chhay again visits Anlong Veng, meeting Khieu Samphan.
Around this time, Ranariddh meets Khieu Samphan in an undisclosed location, according
to a subsequent admission by Ranariddh.
June 2: Nhek Bun Chhay ignites the controversy by publicly claiming a deal
has been struck for KR chiefs Pol Pot, Ta Mok and Son Sen to go into exile, clearing
the way for remaining hardline KR - including its "prime minister" Khieu
Samphan - to defect to the government.
June 4: Nhek Bun Chhay claims the three KR leaders have already left Cambodia,
being granted political asylum in an unspecified country.
June 5: Hun Sen warns Khieu Samphan against any return to Phnom Penh, saying
people would "hack" him with knives.
June 7: An unidentified announcer on KR radio, claiming to speak on behalf
of Khieu Samphan, denies any negotiations with the government.
June 9: King Norodom Sihanouk, from Beijing, issues a statement saying
that he will never grant amnesties to Pol Pot and Ta Mok, the "biggest criminals
in the history of Cambodia". He leaves open the prospect of amnesties for Son
Sen, Khieu Samphan and fellow KR chief Nuon Chea if both Prime Ministers agreed.
Pol Pot reportedly calls a meeting of the KR leadership late at night, which Son
Sen does not attend.
June 10: Son Sen, his wife Yun Yat and other family members are purportedly
killed in the early hours.
June 11: Khieu Samphan, on KR radio, declares that Son Sen and his wife
have been arrested. He condemns the pair for running a "spy network of communist
Vietnam and puppet Hun Sen ... to split and destroy" the rebels' "liberated
June 11 or 12: Bun Chhay visits Anlong Veng and his bodyguards purportedly
photograph the bodies of Son Sen and 11 relatives.
June 12: The Bangkok Post reports that Pol Pot, Son Sen and Ta Mok are
in Thailand, en route to exile in China. The paper cites Cambodian sources but says
the information could not be confirmed. In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
says: "There is no question of giving him [Pol Pot] or anybody else from that
organization political asylum."
In Phnom Penh, Ranariddh says he has sent military officials to a meeting with Khieu
Samphan, organized with the help of a "friendly" country.
June 13: KR radio falls silent. Phnom Penh officials claim intelligence
reports of fighting in Anlong Veng. Ranariddh announces that Son Sen, Yun Yat and
10 others were slaughtered on Pol Pot's orders in the early hours of June 10, and
ailing Pol Pot, fled the area with Khieu Samphan as a hostage.
June 14: Nhek Bun Chhay, at a Phnom Penh press conference, produces glossy,
enlarged photographs said to show the bodies of Son Sen, Yun Yat and other family
members. Bun Chhay says Pol Pot and up to 300 loyal fighters have escaped to about
20km east of Anlong Veng, and Nuon Chea, Ta Mok and Khieu Samphan are being held
hostage by Pol Pot, as well as British deminer Christopher Howes, kidnapped in March
1996. Some 1,000 KR troops who had "defected" to the government were in
pursuit of Pol Pot, Bun Chhay says, adding that he wants the government to give them
Hun Sen opposes such assistance, saying that the government should watch the "two
tigers" - the KR factions - fight. Hun Sen says he doesn't believe Khieu Samphan
or Nuon Chea are hostages of Pol Pot.
Thailand's army chief, General Chetta Thanajaro, denies Pol Pot is in Thailand and
says "he is not welcome here". Chetta urges news media to take caution
in their reporting, saying that many reports out of Cambodia could be politically
June 15: A spokesman for the Democratic National United Movement - former
KR guerrillas who defected to the government last year with former KR foreign minister
Ieng Sary - tells Reuters he is skeptical of the 'Pol Pot on the run' reports. DNUM
will not get involved in negotiations with Anlong Veng, he says.
June 16: Pol Pot should be caught dead or alive within two days, Ranariddh
says, citing information from Nhek Bun Chhay. Anti-Pol Pot guerrillas had intercepted
a convoy heading for the Thai border, stopping 6 of the 10 trucks, Ranariddh says.
Six senior KR - Chan Youran, Mak Ben, Tiuon Tioeun, Tep Khunnal, Pech Bunreth and
Kor Bun Heng - were freed but Pol Pot was still holding Khieu Samphan, Ranariddh
says. Ta Mok had "disappeared", he says, adding that he believed that Ta
Mok was "against Pol Pot". British deminer Christopher Howes is purportedly
with Pol Pot loyalists. An unspecified number of KR guerrillas were ready to formally
defect by June 18, Ranariddh says. "If someone does not accept this, I will
accept this in my capacity as First Prime Minister and co-Commander in Chief [of
the army]," he says in apparent reference to Hun Sen.
In a surprise revelation, Ranariddh says he met Khieu Samphan and two of his associates
three weeks ago, but refuses to provide details.
Hun Sen, in a speech, declares negotiations with Khieu Samphan to be illegal. Hun
Sen calls for arrest and trial of KR leaders and disputes that Khieu Samphan has
split from Pol Pot. Alleging a conspiracy to allow the rebels to enter politics,
Hun Sen says: "The Khmer Rouge is dead militarily, but someone wants the Khmer
Rouge to survive politically. No way."
June 17: After 4-day silence, KR radio begins broadcasting again, delivering
an unprecendented denouncement of Pol Pot. An unidentified announcer accuses Pol
Pot of committing acts of treason between June 9-14. The radio statement says the
matter was "resolved" on June 14 but does not elaborate. It pledges the
support of Khieu Samphan's government and party to the National United Front, and
speaks of joining all "national forces" in the struggle against Vietnam
and its "lackey" Hun Sen.
Ranariddh says he hopes that Pol Pot will be taken alive and sent to an international
court. Ta Mok had split from Pol Pot and disappeared, he says. Ranariddh specifically
rules out amnesty for either of the two.
Visiting United Nations human rights representative Thomas Hammarberg tells a Phnom
Penh press conference that both Prime Ministers will likely ask the UN to convene
an international tribunal to try Pol Pot and others.
Thai army chief General Chetta Tanajaro says he believes Pol Pot is still in Cambodia
and would be arrested if he enters Thailand.
June 18: The Nation newspaper, Bangkok, reports that Pol Pot had been offered
two choices: permanent exile or "safe haven" in Cambodia's north. Long
Sarin of the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok had given this information to former Thai
prime minister Chatichai Choonhavan, the newspaper said, citing unidentified source.
Within hours, the Cambodian Embassy issues a statement denying the report.
Hun Sen delivers an ultimatum to Ranariddh: "I give you a few days to decide
whether to carry on to work in the coalition government or go to work with the government
of Democratic Kampuchea [the KR] led by Khieu Samphan." In apparent reference
to Ranariddh's admission that he met Khieu Samphan, Hun Sen says: "This is a
betrayal that cannot be accepted."
The US State Department in Washington publicly says that the US "would be gravely
concerned if senior Khmer Rouge leaders were permitted to play a role in Cambodian
national politics or permitted to retain administrative control over areas occupied
by Khmer Rouge defectors."
KR radio delivers a bombshell: Pol Pot has surrendered to his former comrades. "The
darkness of the Khmer rouge regime of Pol Pot which has hung over Cambodia since
1975... now the Cambodian people have destroyed it completely." The Associated
Press reports Nhek Bun Chhay also says Pol Pot has surrendered.
June 19: Ranariddh says Pol Pot has not been found. He expresses surprise
at Bun Chhay's comments, saying the general had not informed him of the surrender
of Pol Pot. Ranariddh says that Pol Pot was left with only 5-10 loyalists, and the
remaining KR are trying to capture him.
Hun Sen tells reporters: "Pol Pot is the top leader of the Khmer Rouge. Pol
Pot betrayed who? Pol Pot surrendered to who? This is a political game by Ta Mok,
Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot and some people in Phnom Penh."
Nhek Bun Chhay arrives by helicopter from an unspecified location, possibly Anlong
Veng. Bun Chhay tells the Post that Pol Pot has not yet surrendered but wants to
"defect". "We will not refuse," he says. Asked what would happen
to Pol Pot, Bun Chhay says: "Let him come first and then we will think about
that." Pol Pot is with less than 100 soldiers, and about 15 personal bodyguards,
June 20: KR radio claims a meeting of 3,000 people in Anlong Veng was held
this morning, attended by leadership of the KR provisional government. In a "panel
discussion" of senior officials, including Chan Youran, Mak Ben and Tep Khunnal,
Pol Pot is roundly condemned. Khieu Samphan does not feature in the discussion but
he is referred to as leader of the provisional government.
June 21: Thai Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh arrives in Phnom Penh
for a one-day visit, scheduled before the Anlong Veng drama. Chavalit's only direct
comment to reporters on the subject is that he had "received confirmed reports
from reliable intelligence sources...which should help solve the Cambodian problem
to a certain extent."
After Chavalit meets the co-Prime Ministers, Ranariddh tells reporters that Pol Pot
has been captured. "The source is me," he says when asked what evidence
he has. "One day we will bring you to see him." He adds: "Hun Sen
and I agree that Pol Pot will be brought... eventually to Phnom Penh" and should
face an international trial. Ranariddh says Khieu Samphan was with Pol Pol but does
not say whether Samphan will also face trial. Of Ta Mok's whereabouts, Ranariddh
says "we have to check further but...to be frank, Pol Pot is the most important
Hun Sen tells reporters: "This morning the First Prime Minister has informed
me Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan have been arrested." The pair should be brought
to Phnom Penh and sent to an international trial, he says.
The PMs sign a letter to the UN Secretary-General seeking assistance "in bringing
to justice those persons responsible for the genocide and crimes against humanity"
during the KR regime. "Only in this way can this tragedy be brought to a full
or final conclusion," the letter ends.
Funcinpec Minister of Interior You Hockry says Pol Pot should be kept in Anlong Veng
because "jails are more secure there" and he might be killed if brought
to Phnom Penh.
June 22: Hun Sen says he had received a report that Pol Pot was dead. He
also explains his version of what Ranariddh had said about Pol Pot's capture: "He
said 'I heard it from someone who heard it from someone else." Hun Sen says:
"Now I temporarily believe that Pol Pot has been arrested and died. I take it
as a temporary belief..." Hun Sen also casts doubt on whether Son Sen had really
Nhek Bun Chhay returns from Anlong Veng, telling journalists that he saw Pol Pot.
"He is still alive, but I did not take a photo... I did not ask Pol Pot anything.
I only saw him sitting in his house. He is very old. I think very soon maybe he will
given to the government." Bun Chhay says he also saw Nuon Chea, who he said
was sicker than Pol Pot, and Ta Mok. Bun Chhay says Khieu Samphan plans a press conference
in KR-held Preah Vihear temple to announce the end of the KR provisional government
and declare support for the Constitution of Cambodia.
June 25: Ranariddh says he wants to send one or two journalists to Anlong
Veng to take photographs of Pol Pot.