Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cham massacre recounted

Cham massacre recounted

Witness Samrit Muy testifies on the targeted killing of ethnic Cham at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday.  ECCC
Witness Samrit Muy testifies on the targeted killing of ethnic Cham at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday. ECCC

Cham massacre recounted

Witness Samrit Muy corroborated previous accounts of the targeted arrest and killing of ethnic Cham at the Au Trakuon pagoda security centre yesterday, as the defence sought to raise questions as to the reliability of his testimony.

Muy told the court of the formation of the “Long Sword militia” – also recounted by previous witness Sen Srun – which was formed following the arrival of Southwest Zone cadres in 1976 and 1977.

The militia was responsible for compiling lists of members of the predominantly Muslim Cham ethnic minority, arresting them and transporting them to Au Trakuon pagoda.

Muy said he had been part of a local militia until 1976, when he worked at the cooperative near Au Trakuon and witnessed the same arrest of 200 to 300 Cham previously described by Srun.

“It was a large arrest ... I was afraid to go near,” he said. While Muy never witnessed any killings – a point repeatedly stressed by both defence teams in their cross examination – he stated “those who were brought into that pagoda would never return”.

Muy also corroborated prior testimony by Srun that killings at Au Trakuon occurred while music was played at night. “I would hear the screaming for help at the time the loud music was being played,” he said.

Muy went on to testify that the music was always played on days that arrests were made.

“We could all see it; we saw men, women and young children being taken away to the pagoda, and surely on days that happened, we would hear that night loudspeakers being played.”

In their cross examination, however, the defence attempted to impeach Muy’s credibility, calling attention to Muy’s time in the militia.

Srun, the previous witness and Muy’s fellow militiaman, had said that Muy had stayed on with the militia until 1979, not just 1976 as Muy maintained.

Under pressure from Khieu Samphan defender Anita Guisse as to what motivation Srun would have to lie about the matter, Muy denied the accusation, maintaining that Srun was only alive “because of my good deed”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Funcinpec ‘set to sell their headquarters’, says source

    An anonymous source from Funcinpec said acting president Prince Norodom Chakravuth had held a meeting with other officials to discuss selling several of the party headquarters across the country while the party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh receives medical treatment at the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital