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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Meas Muth: "We were in a cage like today"

Meas Muth: "We were in a cage like today"

Post: According to the report, you attended many general staff meetings with [former Khmer Rouge Defense Minister] Son Sen, at which he revealed the policy towards the enemies of the regime.

Meas Muth: When I came to those meetings, it was only to discuss rice production. At that time, we were in a cage like today. Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary are still alive. If they say they do not know anything, I cannot know better because I was not living in Phnom Penh at that time. Think about it, who was controlling the State? The president, the prime minister and the ministers. As I told you, in the meetings I attended with Son Sen, we discussed whether there was enough rice or not. I was just the head of a division, and I did not attend the secret meetings where the leaders investigated the cases of the enemy.

Post: How many people were in your division?

Muth: Probably over 10,000. To control the humans is not like controlling the animals. For the animals you can only give them grass to eat. But the humans, they need food and they have feelings as well.

Post: [According to the report] 24 cadre of your division were sent to S-21.

Muth: The top leaders sent me letters several times, each time requesting me to send 50-100 men to another part of the country. Once they were out of my zone, I didn't know what happened to them. The low levels have to respect the high level. But in my division no one was arrested. ... During the Khmer Rouge, we did not know what was happening in other part of the country, only the area we controlled.

Post: Do you remember the celebrations of the anniversary of the [April 17, 1975 Khmer Rouge rise to power] victory when speeches were made about crushing the enemy?

Muth: I attended the anniversary of the victory. We heard the speech of Khieu Samphan over the radio... [and] Pol Pot, Son Sen and Nuon Chea made speeches. [If] you want to know everything about that time, just go and ask Ieng Sary. Do not ask me or low ranking officials. Ieng Sary was a leader. First there was Pol Pot, then the number two was Nuon Chea and the number three was Ieng Sary. All you want to know, ask those two people [Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary]. I met with Nuon Chea. He went everywhere [around the country] and looked at the situation of the people. I never talked about the problems my people were facing.

Post: Why not?

Muth: Nobody dared to say bad things. I would never say to my boss that I am a bad guy. When the leaders came, they would visit the grassroots and tell me about the procedure to follow. Especially on how many times the people [should] eat in my zone: rice three times a day and dessert once a week.

Post: Are you worried about a possible tribunal?

Muth: I do not worry. The only concern is that the court might not give justice, if it is just created for revenge. This report talks about 24 cadres of my division sent to S-21, this is not true. I do not know where they got those documents from. Maybe the documents were rewritten. For me there is no problem with the court. I will say everything: what I know and what I did. The low ranks had to respect the orders. It was like under Hitler. Hitler asked Goering to kill the Jews. If Goering did not do it, he would have been killed. Like [former S-21 chief] Mr Duch, he was ordered to kill people and if he did not kill them, he would have been killed.

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