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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Excerpts

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The report 'Seven Candidates for prosecution: Accountability for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge' is 125 pages long and examines the legal responsibility of each individual. Based on evidence provided by documents of the Khmer Rouge era, a legal analysis outlines grounds on which a court could indict the Khmer Rouge leaders. Brian Tittemore, an international lawyer based his conclusions on principles drawn from the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. Edited excerpts follow.

Nuon Chea
Deputy Secretary the Central Committee and a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

Nuon Chea, together with Pol Pot and Son Sen, played a leading role in devising the policies.

Duch has claimed... that Nuon "ordered 300 [Khmer Rouge] soldiers arrested. He called to meet me and said, 'Don't bother to interrogate them - just kill them.' And I did."

[T]he October 1977 confessions of a Central Zone Division 174 battalion cadre named Nheum Sim alias Saut include a note from Saut's interrogator marked "One Copy to Brother Nuon" explaining that "it was only after I tortured (tearunakam) him that he confessed to the story of having been a police informer and a CIA systematically right up to the time of his arrest."

Nuon Chea was noted for distribution on reports that solicited instructions or authorization to detain or execute suspected traitors. These include, for example, requests to execute members of an upland minority group and former DK military personnel who had been judged "enemies" after interrogation, as well as requests for advice on what to do with prisoners who had "confessed" to wanting to join an armed opposition group, local Party cadre who refused to follow orders from above, and local cadre who had committed "morals violations" and had been implicated in the "confessions."

[The system of reporting confessions] suggests that Nuon Chea may indeed have played a more important role than Pol Pot in dealing with "confessions" and purges.

Ieng Sary
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Central and Standing Committee member.

Sary was part of the same exclusive Standing Committee information network for reports from the grassroots as Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Von Vet and Son Sen.

[Sary] may have played a personal role in effecting the arrests of certain officials, and ... the premises of the Foreign Ministry, for which Sary was responsible, was used as a place of detention for arrested Party cadre... At least two "confessions" of cadre under the Foreign Ministry's authority were marked for transmission to Sary, .... one of the two confessions copied to Sary, together with other evidence ... provides evidence that Sary was aware that persons arrested pursuant to DK policies would likely be executed.

Sary described DK practices aimed at countering efforts by "the enemy" during the preceding year to "destroy the fruits of our victory." In response to those efforts, Sary said, "our Cambodian people and Revolutionary army have smashed all the enemies' tricks, crushed their spy network and succeeded in preserving our national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the sacred fruits of our revolution."

Ieng Sary was copied on messages directed to Nuon Chea requesting advice about what to do with Vietnamese prisoners of war, mentioning the torching of civilian targets in Viet Nam and the "smashing" of Vietnamese civilians on Vietnamese territory.

Khieu Samphan
Democratic Kampuchea State Presidium Chair

[T]he evidence suggests that Samphan knowingly contributed to the implementation of the Party's execution policies by making public statements in support of those policies and by investigating on behalf of the Party the manner in which certain regional authorities implemented the policies.

[Khieu Samphan] indicated he was not concerned that purges might deplete the ranks of the revolution's cadre, because they could be replaced with newer and better cadre.

[I]t was in his capacity as Chairman of Office 870 that Khieu Samphan was present as a "note taker" at a secret meeting in the first half of 1978 at which Pol Pot, Nuon Chea and Son Sen ordered the [purges in the East Zone].

On July 15, 1987, Khieu Samphan's Office of the Vice President of Democratic Kampuchea for Foreign Affairs issued a document attempting to absolve Pol Pot and himself and others then still alive of any responsibility for "mass killings" or avoidable deaths while the CPK was in power. ... [The] document concedes that the CPK executed some 11,000 of its own members for being Vietnamese agents. Of these, ..., only some 8,000 appear to have been truly involved in trying "to systematically carry out activities to overthrow Democratic Kampuchea." The remaining 3,000 executed persons "died from our mistakes." These were people who were mistakenly netted in the course of "measures to arrest and punish ... Vietnamese agents." [The] document acknowledged that these victims were executed even though they were either "minor offenders or innocent civilians."

Ta Mok
Zone Secretary and Central Committee Member

According to Duch, "Ta Mok had his own prison" in the Southwest Zone where, under Ta Mok's authority, "many were killed" often after torture... According to Sary... although it was "Pol Pot, Nuon Chea [and] Son Sen" who made the overall decisions about "killings and massacres," they relied on Ta Mok in his capacity as a Zone Secretary to carry out their decisions in this regard... Nuon Chea remarked that "not a few died over in the Southwest" as a result of killings there.

[S-21 confessions] describe a peasant demonstration in the [Southwest] Sector that was suppressed "by arresting the demonstrators and taking them to be killed and disposed of."

The contents of certain confessions further suggest Mok's personal involvement in executions.

Ke Pauk
There is evidence that Ke Pauk, as a for-mer Secretary of the North/Central Zone and member of the Central Committee, played a direct and substantial role in executions of CPK cadre by investigating and facilitating the arrests of suspected traitors in his Zone.

Ke Pauk's Deputy, Cho Chhan alias Sreng, recalled [that]. ...local authorities were required to draw "up list after list" of those to be done away with, which were then submitted to the Zone Party of which Pauk was Secretary to "sort out" who was to be killed. The same local authorities then sought out and arrested the named officials for "sorting out," namely interrogation and execution.

Sou Met (no photo) & Meas Muth

The evidence pertaining to CPK Military Division Chairmen Sou Met and Meas Muth suggests individual responsibility on the part of both of these individuals for facilitating the arrest and transfer to S-21 for execution of cadre from their Divisions. Further, the evidence strongly indicates that each official may be responsible as superiors for failing to prevent or punish arrests and executions in which their subordinates may have been involved.

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