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After confusion, KRT witness tells of time in work unit

Witness In Yoeung speaks at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yeterday. ECCC
Witness In Yoeung speaks at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yeterday. ECCC

After confusion, KRT witness tells of time in work unit

Witness In Yoeung appeared before the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday to testify on the treatment of ethnic Vietnamese in Svay Rieng province, but confusion over prior statements thought to have been made by the witness resulted in lack of substantial questioning.

Yoeung – who participated, but was misidentified, in a 2005 DC-Cam interview with her husband – was apparently unable to confirm the statements made in that interview and presumably attributed to her.

In spite of the confusion, the trial chamber ultimately decided to let the prosecution continue questioning, though Yoeung said she had no knowledge of any Vietnamese in her village or mobile work unit.

“Prosecution, you may continue, but you should be clear that this person knows the content of the interview,” said trial chamber president Nil Nonn, adding “if you called someone to testify without [them] knowing the event, that would be out of the question”.

Brief questioning from the prosecutors led the witness to describe the conditions of youth mobile work units and how they were organised.

“The youth was assigned to a group, the children were assigned to another group, and the females were assigned to yet a separate group,” she said, adding that “youth” meant labourers above the age of 15.

“The condition at the mobile unit was harsher than the cooperative … [where] the food was better,” she said.

Yoeung said this led to youths volunteering for mass marriages so they would be reassigned to cooperatives.

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