P HNOM MALAI - Ieng Sary declared his innocence, unveiled his own history of Democratic
Kampuchea and gave no concessions to the government during a Sept 9 press conference
Speaking before his Royal pardon was granted, Sary made it plain that an amnesty
was the first demand of his Democratic National Union Movement (DNUM).
"In view of the historical role I play in leading [DNUM], our cadre, combatants
and people request the Cambodian Royal Government to officially and clearly determine
my legal status.
"Once this problem is solved, our [DNUM] will continue its negotiations..."
Sary indicated that the only firm agreement with the government so far was for a
cease-fire. That had been "officially agreed" upon at a meeting in Thailand
three days earlier between himself and co-Ministers of Defense Tea Banh and Tea Chamrath.
Also, it was agreed to establish a military committee to monitor the cease-fire and
"preserve the territory under each side's control."
On whether his troops would be put under Royal army control, he said the matter was
up to negotiation.
Asked what would happen if negotiations were unsuccessful, he said that he believed
an agreement would be reached because "we understand each other's hearts."
On whether DNUM should contest the 1998 national election, he said that depended
on how "events will develop in the future". He added that "anyone
who wants national reconciliation, unity, an end to the war, [and] peace, can join
Sary, former deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Pol Pot's 1975-79 Democratic
Kampuchea regime, unequivocally denied any past wrongdoing.
He distributed a 10-page document, typewritten in English and prepared by the "Research
and Documentation Center" of DNUM, on the DK's history.
Asked whether he had any remorse, Sary replied: "I would like to answer that
I have no remorse because I never killed anyone, nor did I ever make a decision or
suggest to Angkar [the DK "organization"] to do so - never at all. Neither
did I suggest the arrest [of anyone] for execution.
"Am I still responsible for past historical events? I think that as a leader
I must take responsibility for the past work. But the framework of decisions that
were made - please see the documents," he said, referring to the paper he distributed.
"What affairs had my knowledge, I could protect [people], I could decide. But
for the affairs that I was not aware of, they proceeded according to the current
of the water."
Sary's 'research' paper argued that every decision "big or small" made
under the DK regime was controlled by Pol Pot, not the government as a whole.
It blamed executions, torture and detentions on a "secret security committee"
controlled by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Son Sen and Sen's wife, Yun Yat. These four, along
with KR general Ta Mok, were "the mass murderers of the people of Cambodia".
The document, and Sary in his comments at the press conference, outlined what he
said were long-standing differences between himself and Pol Pot.
They began in 1960 when the pair differed over the meaning of a Moscow joint declaration
of the world's communist parties: Pot stressed the concepts of "democracy"
and "class struggle", while he, Sary, emphasized "nationalism."
Sary said he disagreed with the "indiscriminate killing" of the so-called
Khmer Hanoi - accused of being Vietnamese agents - between 1970-75.
He also disavowed any part in the decision to evacuate Phnom Penh and other cities
after fall of the capital to the KR in 1975.
Sary's document also denied that, as foreign minister, he had any role in the detention
and deaths of Khmer diplomats and intellectuals who returned to Cambodia during the
Sary did not even know when his mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, one of whom was
later executed, arrived back in Cambodia.
Sary had saved the lives of several Foreign Ministry staff by opposing plans to send
them to the countryside, the document said.
At the press conference, Sary said he stayed with the KR to "preserve our unity"
and because he thought he could still express his opinion "to a certain extent"
in what was an "internal struggle."
He said that in 1990 - when Pot began to "prevent me from taking part in any
major affairs" - he realized that the KR was on the wrong path.
The "real split" did not occur until Aug 8 this year when KR radio, in
a "slanderous claim", accused him for being a traitor (apparently after
Phnom Malai resisted an order to collectivize property).
Sary said he had last seen Pol Pot more than two years ago, but believed he was alive
and now in Anlong Veng.
Sary's distaste for Pot was evident in the document he distributed, which at one
point said: "Pol Pot...considers himself an incomparable genius in the military
field, in the economic field, in health care, in song-writing, music dances, culinary
arts, fashion, in everything including even the art of lying. Pol Pot considers himself
above all living creatures in this world. He is the god on the earth."
Sary appeared to go to lengths to include KR defense chief Son Sen - whose possible
defection to the government has been mooted in recent weeks - among the KR "mass
Asked at the press conference whether he would support amnesty for other KR leaders,
he would only say that "it depends on the government" but noted that Prince
Norodom Ranariddh had urged Son Sen and fellow KR Khieu Samphan to defect.
His prepared document took a harder line, alleging that all of the DK's other leaders
remained faithful to Pol Pot. It named Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Son Sen and Yun Yat as
"committing until now enormous crimes against mankind" and added: "As
such, they must be sentenced to death."