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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KRT questions witness in closed-door session

KRT questions witness in closed-door session

KRT questions witness in closed-door session

The Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday resumed trial hearings following a Pchum Ben break with closed-chamber witness testimony in the current Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who stand accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.

In one of few closed sessions hearings in the case so far, the witness was scheduled to testify in relation to the construction of the Trapeang Thma Dam, which took place from 1976 in what is today Banteay Meanchey province.

A number of abuses are alleged to have been perpetrated during its construction, with civilians reportedly thrown into the reservoir basin or made to dig their own graves, according to preliminary accounts detailed by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

It was deemed necessary to conduct the hearing in closed chamber because, according to ECCC legal communications officer Lars Olsen, the witness questioned yesterday had also been interviewed in relation to Cases 003 and 004, and that the records of those interviews had formed the foundation of yesterday's questioning.

"As these written records of interviews are confidential, the hearing yesterday was conducted in closed session," Olsen said.

Yesterday’s hearing also addressed various procedural issues, with the defence counsel for Samphan repeating requests for the “urgency and necessity” of additional time to prepare for forthcoming testimonies relating to the treatment of Vietnamese people.

The alleged genocide of the Vietnamese under the Khmer Rouge is one of the charges being tried in the current case.

A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Lars Olsen as saying that the witness' testimony had been conducted behind closed doors because it could be used as a basis for questioning in the still-confidential Cases 003 and 004. In fact, the questioning was conducted privately because it was based on interviews done in relation to those cases, which are still confidential. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.

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