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Witness backtracks at KRouge Tribunal

During the third day of Khmer Rouge tribunal testimony by Ny Kan, younger brother of Democratic Kampuchea senior leader Son Sen, defence teams attempted to attack his credibility by insinuating that he had based much of his previous answers on speculation and assumption.

In his cross-examination of Ny Kan, Ieng Sary defence lawyer Ang Udom reviewed testimony the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs staffer had given before the Office of the Co-investigating Judges in 2007 regarding the decision to send former diplomats to the notorious S-21 prison, where an estimated 12,000 people met their death.

At the time, Ny Kan, who defected from the Khmer Rouge to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in the 1990s, said the decision to execute the diplomats was made “by the leadership”, namely Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

“When the senior cadres attended or convened a meeting to decide on the matter, did you take part in the meeting?” Ang Udom asked.

“I was a lower-level cadre, so I wasn’t in the authority to attend such meetings, because it was the meeting of the leadership,” Ny Kan replied.

After several attempts to intimate that Ny Kan was speculating were rebuffed by Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn on account of their leading nature, Ang Udom finally asked Ny Kan whether he was basing his responses to this subject on “reliable information”.

“No I didn’t,” NyKan replied.

The defence probed further.

“You refer to the upper echelon decisions and arrests of diplomats … what kind of information did you obtain … to prove this?” Ang Udom asked.

“I haven’t received any actual information on this,” Ny Kan replied. “I don’t know, I don’t know the framework in the leadership, I have no idea who attended which meetings.”

Earlier in the day, sparks again flew between Nuon Chea defence lawyer Michiel Pestman and Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn when the latter, on several different occasions, denied attempts by Pestman to pursue certain lines of questioning, including the validity of the oath taken by the witness and regime responsibilities of current Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

“With regards to your comment about my stubbornness, I take that as a compliment,” Pestman at one point said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristin Lynch at kristin.lynch@phnompenhpost.com

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