Khieu Samphan’s defence team went on the offensive at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, questioning the credibility of civil party Chea Dieb’s previous testimony, which had directly implicated their client in the regime’s policy of forced marriage.
On Tuesday, Dieb claimed to have attended an educational meeting chaired by Samphan while serving as a cadre in the Commerce Ministry. Dieb said Samphan demanded that all women enter arranged marriages and immediately begin having children. She also said she saw Samphan preside over the trial of two well-known traitors at the Borei Keila stadium.
Samphan and his Case 002/02 co-defendant, Nuon Chea, are both on trial for various crimes against humanity, with the court recently hearing testimony pertaining to charges of forced marriage and rape.
Dieb also claimed to have had brief encounters with regime leaders Ieng Sary – himself a Case 002 defendant until his death in 2013 – and regime leader Pol Pot as well, but Samphan’s lawyer, Anta Guisse, questioned whether any of these encounters actually took place.
“Why did you not say you met Khieu Samphan the first time you gave a statement?” Guisse asked, referring to Dieb’s application to be a civil party.“Maybe I did not mention everything,” Dieb replied.
According to Guisse, Dieb mentioned the educational session regarding arranged marriages in a 2014 statement, but not her original 2009 statement. She never before mentioned meeting Pol Pot or Ieng Sary, and also never before mentioned seeing Samphan at Borei Keila.
“I am wondering about the accuracy of your memories,” Guisse said.
Judge Claudia Fenz interjected to question the civil party.“Are you sure that these meetings happened?” she asked.
“I did meet him [Samphan] on two occasions”, Dieb insisted, though she could not give a reason why she did not mention the meetings earlier.
Both Guisse and Fenz also questioned the accuracy of the timeline the witness provided.
After Dieb’s testimony concluded, witness Phan Him – who had also been stationed within the Commerce Ministry – testified to having been part of a forced marriage in Tuol Tompong, directly contradicting a statement by Samphan in which he claimed there were no forced marriages in the capital.
However, she denied having heard of female commerce cadres attending an educational session lead by Samphan.