Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dudman hears Pol Pot interview at KRT

Dudman hears Pol Pot interview at KRT

Dudman hears Pol Pot interview at KRT

The voice of Pol Pot yesterday filled the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as retired journalist Richard Dudman was played a recording of his and Elizabeth Becker’s famous 1978 interview of the secretive Democratic Kampuchea leader.

The recording was among evidence presented to Dudman, 96, during his second day of testimony via video link from the US, in a bid to jog the former St Louis Post-Dispatch reporter’s memory of details surrounding his December 1978 visit to the Kingdom.

In the clip, made just weeks before the Khmer Rouge was toppled by the Vietnamese, Pol Pot could be heard speaking Khmer with English translations added by Khmer Rouge official Tiounn Prasith.

He tells the American journalists that Vietnam, backed by Russia and Warsaw Pact countries, is “pushing for war” and wanted to capture Cambodia as part of Soviet expansionist plans, according to a transcript of the audio recording provided by Nuon Chea’s defence.

“This is carrying out of the Vietnamese strategy of Indochina Federation and the strategy of the Soviet in Southeast Asia and in the world,” Pol Pot says of Vietnam’s “aggressing” of Cambodia. Pol Pot also spoke of the problems his foes would face, saying that Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces were “very far from Cambodia” and “couldn’t rely on anything in Vietnam”.

However, Dudman said the recording didn’t spark any new recollections about the interview, among the few ever given to Westerners by Pol Pot.

Testifying for two hours, the former Washington bureau chief often cited memory loss when asked for specifics about the trip.

He recalled “the feeling of frustration” saying it was “really impossible at the time” to get satisfactory answers from his hosts, who tightly controlled the group, which was invited amid international reports of mass killings and atrocities.

Dudman also said he couldn’t be sure the worksites and communes his group toured were representative of the country’s overall situation, adding: “I suspected they were putting their best foot forward.”

Following Dudman’s evidence, which continues today, the chamber heard a motion by Chea’s team requesting more time to question civil parties on Thursday and Friday.


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for