A civil party at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was ultimately reclassified as a factual witness yesterday after judges decided his testimony – as one of the only survivors of the Ang Roka prison – was of particular importance.
Than Tim, 69, was one of the three civil parties who testified about their suffering under the hands of the Khmer Rouge in Takeo’s Tram Kak district. He told the court that, in 1977, he was working in an ox-cart unit in Takeo’s Trapeang Thum Khang Cheung commune when he was surprisingly called into a closed-door meeting by the unit chief.
Tim arrived at the militia station and was immediately arrested by four cadres, who forced him to confess about his role as a soldier in the Lon Nol regime. Despite there being no truth the accusation, he testified that he later found out that he was arrested after his daughter had been forced to make the false confession after being arrested herself.
Maintaining that he merely worked as a firewood collector at the Phnom Penh refugee camp he previously resided in, the soldiers took turns beating him bloody with a bamboo stick before shackling both his ankles and tying his hands behind his back.
“The pain inflicted upon me at that time was indescribable, I didn’t think that I could survive,” Tim said. “I suffered the pain physically and emotionally . . . and since I was born I never experienced such pain as that time [under the] Khmer Rouge regime.”
Following the interrogation, Tim was transported to the Ang Roka prison where he spent three months.
After hearing part of the testimony, Nuon Chea’s defence lawyer Victor Koppe requested the Trial Chamber to reclassify Tim as a factual witness since he was “a very interesting witness who could tell us many things about his experiences”.
The Trial Chamber approved the motion and asked Tim to testify at a later date.
The court also heard testimonies from civil party Iem Yen and Beng Boeun. Boeun, who was orphaned during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, will continue his testimony today.