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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chams sent to infamous security centre: witness

Muy Vanny appears before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during case 002/02 yesterday. ECCC
Muy Vanny appears before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during case 002/02 yesterday. ECCC

Chams sent to infamous security centre: witness

Witness Muy Vanny described the roundup and disappearance of ethnic Cham villagers at the Wat Au Trakuon security centre at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal yesterday, telling the court he had later heard that those taken away were killed.

While Vanny often had difficulty placing his experience precisely in terms of dates, he said he was a young boy when he served as bodyguard for Horn, the chief of security for Kang Meas district and the pagoda-turned-security centre.

“Horn had his office at Au Trakuon pagoda,” Vanny said. Vanny previously was assigned for two years to a mobile work unit of about 30 youths, the majority of which were Cham, the predominantly Muslim ethnic minority whose alleged targeted killings form part of the basis of the genocide charges in current Case 002/02.

“The Cham people were taken away . . . and the Khmer people were not taken away,” Vanny said. “I saw them being tied up and being walked away . . . Because of the darkness, I could only identify a few of those people who were being walked in [single] file,” he recalled, adding he later heard those Cham had been killed.

Later in the day – testifying on his time with Horn – Vanny said he never witnessed executions, although he witnessed instances of Cham, sometimes arriving in boatloads of 50 to 100, being taken to the Au Trakuon security centre never to be seen again. Previous witnesses have testified about massacres of hundreds of Cham at that location in 1977 and 1978.

“I saw people being tied up and walked away. They were blindfolded, then they tied the wrists of their hands and they were put into [single] file,” he said, describing a group of 10 prisoners he was assigned to bring water to, later saying he feared to go near the alleged killing site. “I was a young boy . . . I was afraid of ghosts.”

Meanwhile, the court released the seventh revision of its completion plan, dated December 31, which projects the trial phase of Case 002/02 to end in the fourth quarter of 2017 rather than the third – as previously expected – and the appeal hearing to extend into the third quarter of 2019.

Also delayed are the investigation and closing order timelines for cases 003 and 004, which are now respectively projected to wrap up in the second and fourth quarters of 2017.

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