Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday highlighted the importance of convicted S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, in implicating “Brother No. 2” Nuon Chea and former Khmer Rouge Foreign Affairs Minister Ieng Sary as leaders of the communist state’s security.
Senior assistant prosecutor Dale Lysak presented a series of confessions, biographies and records from S-21 that he said “demonstrated the authority and responsibility of . . . the accused . . . for security matters”.
In one example, Lysak referenced Duch’s handwritten annotations on prisoner confessions indicating the confessions were sent to Nuon Chea or Ieng Sary.
“As Duch has testified, it was standard practice to send the confession to the head of the organisation,” Lysak said.
“The fact this process occurred shows us who it was that had the authority on ultimately deciding on the arrests and . . . what was the responsibility of the accused.”
Lysak also presented a note from Duch to an S-21 interrogator relaying advice from “Brother No. 2”.
“Clearly, this is strong confirmation of Nuon Chea’s role in providing instruct-ions to Duch regarding S-21,” Lysak said.
Prison records also proved the Khmer Rouge specifically targeted former soldiers of the Lon Nol regime for “elimination”, Lysak said.
“A plan to identify individuals and soldiers of former regimes is reflected in a number of S-21 prisoner lists from 1976,” he said, using as an example an S-21 execution log from March 1976 detailing 159 former Lon Nol officials, or relatives of officials.
This was a “critical issue” in the first segment of Case 002, Lysak said, in which the defendants are accused of “using the evacuation of Phnom Penh as a strategy to remove enemies”.
Revolutionary biographies of Khmer Rouge cadres, in which soldiers had to detail their affiliations with members of the Lon Nol regime, were also indicative of this strategy, he said.
“The mere fact they were requested to write these documents evidences Ieng Sary’s role in security matters.”