Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence pushes Hun Sen link

Defence pushes Hun Sen link

Witness Seng Kuy gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan yesterday in Phnom Penh.  ECCC
Witness Seng Kuy gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan yesterday in Phnom Penh. ECCC

Defence pushes Hun Sen link

Undeterred by numerous objections at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday, Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe yesterday continued to call attention to the alleged connection between current government figures – former East Zone cadres, including Prime Minister Hun Sen – and the suppression of a Cham revolt.

The line of questioning, put to civil party Sos Ponyamin, came as the court continued to hear evidence on charges of genocide pertaining to the Khmer Rouge’s treatment of the predominantly Muslim Cham ethnic minority.

It came after Tuesday’s proceedings in which Koppe was prevented from presenting a Human Rights Watch report implicating Hun Sen in the suppression of the Cham uprising.

“We’re talking about atrocities being committed by East Zone forces including possibly the prime minister of this country and a senator [Ouk Bunchhoeun], so I think it is a very fair question that I am asking,” Koppe said, responding to renewed objections by the prosecution.

Ponyamin, himself an ethnic Cham, rebuffed most of the questions, often claiming ignorance, prompting Koppe to ask if he was “afraid to testify”, which Ponyamin denied.

The crime sites covered this week are among the few located in the Eastern Zone, Koppe said after adjournment, constituting a rare opportunity to inculpate certain government figures who formerly served as cadres in that area.

In the afternoon session, Seng Kuy, an ethnic Khmer who bore witness to Cham persecution in his Kampong Cham village of Angkor Ban, recalled his experience when the Khmer Rouge took control in 1975.

“I was a slave among slaves and I was assigned to plough the fields and do rice farming until the end of the regime,” he said.

Kuy recounted transfers of Cham to his village, noting that, at first, families came together, but the men were later separated and taken away, leaving only women and children.

Confirming prior testimony that Cham had to abandon “distinct Cham dress”, their religion and language, Kuy told the court of the day the surviving Cham were taken to the local pagoda-turned-security complex.

Kuy, following orders he did “not dare to refuse”, transported the victims by ox cart to their unknown fate, although Kuy said he “never [saw] a single one” again.

The orders allegedly came from a feared cadre, Run, also known as ‘the butcher’ or ‘the executioner’, because he killed people”.

Kuy said that after the regime, “Run was chopped to death” by angry villagers.

Prior to adjournment, Koppe indicated his team would not be questioning Kuy today.


  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding