Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch: Two KR leaders were ‘Office’ mates



Duch: Two KR leaders were ‘Office’ mates

Duch: Two KR leaders were ‘Office’ mates


Khieu Samphan was “in charge” of Pol Pot’s secretariat office, also known as “Office 870”, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, testified yesterday at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

{jathumbnail}

During examination by Trial Chamber Judge Jean-Marc Lavergne, the former S-21 prison chief said such a position afforded the former Democratic Kampuchea head of state with high-level access to information.

“He was allowed to know important information. Pol Pot allowed him to know and help him remember the issues,” Duch said, adding that the two leaders were “close”.

After 1975, Duch said this secretariat office was referred to as “Office 870”.

“All documents were in the hands of Khieu Samphan” at Office 870, Duch continued.

According to the indictment against the three co-accused – Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Nuon Chea – Office 870 was one of the two highest-level offices within the Communist Party of Kampuchea, tasked with supporting the Standing Committee on matters of policy. The indictment also says that Khieu Samphan has “categorically denied” ever being chairman.

Duch has generally been reluctant to speak out against the former head of state, in stark contrast to the zealousness he typically reserves for co-accused Brother No 2 Nuon Chea. Last week, Duch said Khieu Samphan was “pure” and “clean” and that his role was only “symbolic and honorific”.

And during testimony earlier in the day yesterday, Duch refused to answer when civil party lawyer Lyma Nguyen asked whether any S-21 prisoner confessions had been sent to Khieu Samphan or Ieng Sary.

“I’d like to refrain from answering this question,” Duch responded, despite willingly saying that such confessions were sent to Nuon Chea.

The examination of the former S-21 prison chief continues today, starting with questions by Nuon Chea’s defence team.

Toward the end of yesterday’s session, defence lawyer Michiel Pestman said that his client, Nuon Chea, wanted five minutes of today’s session to respond to Duch’s testimony, but the Trial Chamber did not issue a ruling before the court adjourned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristin Lynch at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Covid in Kingdom hits ‘critical point’

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend. On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as

  • Covid-19 spreads in Kingdom, infects more children

    The Ministry of Health on March 28 reported another 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20 community outbreak. Among them, two are Chinese and the rest are Cambodian. Preah Sihanouk province recorded the most cases at 43, followed by the capital at 25; three each in Tbong Khmum, Svay