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Purges were widespread, specialist tells KR tribunal

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090520_03.jpg

On his second day of testimony, Khmer Rouge specialist Craig Etcheson details purges at all levels of regime.

Photo by:
AFP

Kaing Guek Eav, or Duch, appears at his trial at the KR tribunal in this file photo.

AN American genocide expert told the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal Tuesday that purges of the Khmer Rouge's own government and military officials was "widespread".

Craig Etcheson, who is currently an investigator with the co-prosecutors and an expert in the regime's structure, said purges occurred at all

levels.

"There were widespread purges throughout Democratic Kampuchea ... the revolutionary army of Kampuchea," Etcheson told the court. "Some purged military personnel were executed within their own unit of organisation; others were sent to force labour camps or S-21."

Etcheson, who is the author of The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea, is the first foreign expert called for testimony about the regime's treatment of prisoners at S-21, the prison camp directed by Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch.

He told the court that more than 1,000 cadres from the eastern zone and more than 1,000 from the northwest zone were sent to S-21 during the purges. More than 1,400 people from at least four of the regime's ministries were also arrested and sent to S-21.

"There were widespread arrests throughout all of the government's ministries. The purging was quite extensive," he said, adding that S-21 received detainees from virtually every unit of organisation across the country.

During the hearing, defence council Francois Roux objected to a report used in Etcheson's testimony that described the military and communications networks.

"In the report, there are only a few words about S-21.... Now, the expert witness is giving us a specific analysis of S-21. So we are no longer accepting any context here," Roux argued.

But the objection was rejected by the tribunal judges after a three-hour recess.

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