Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families held over offences: KRT witness

Families held over offences: KRT witness

Audience members at the Khmer Rouge tribunal watch testimony from the public gallery last week. ECCC
Audience members at the Khmer Rouge tribunal watch testimony from the public gallery last week. ECCC

Families held over offences: KRT witness

The wives and children of 18 Mondulkiri men who fled the Khmer Rouge to Vietnam in 1977 were arrested the next day, with some sent to Phnom Penh’s notorious Tuol Sleng prison, the Khmer Rouge tribunal heard yesterday.

Witness Bun Loeng Chauy, 63, said that under the Democratic Kampuchea regime, those with suspected Vietnamese ties were prime targets for arrest as he gave evidence in Case 002/02 against former leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.

A former bodyguard to his uncle Ka Sy, the district secretary of Keo Seima, Chauy told of how he was arrested and detained near Phnom Kraol security centre in February of 1977 after his uncle was accused of overlooking an “immoral act” committed by a district member.

Ka Sy was also detained in Koh Nhek district before he was taken away and killed, while his relatives and neighbours were also detained, according to Chauy.

Chauy described how 18 men who were part of Ka Sy’s network fled to Vietnam in 1977 when they learned of his execution.

One of them, Sroes Nhon, was chief of the K-16 office in Sector 105. On November 23, 1977, his wife, Kim Hin, was taken to S-21 prison.

Chauy maintained that Kim Hin had done “nothing” to warrant arrest and was captured because of her husband.

“If the husband [was] accused of betrayal, the wife and children would not be spared,” he said.

However, Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe objected to the prosecution’s line of questioning, saying it was “incomplete” to define Kim Hin simply as the wife of Nhon when she and other women were primarily listed as combatants on the S-21 records.

“It’s a bit sexist, actually,” Koppe said. “To say they were arrested only as wives . . . is incorrect. It seems they were arrested because they were combatants.”

Chauy said he was sent to a worksite – where he said he was not allowed to leave, but was not physically restrained – that passed by the Trapeang Pring execution site. He saw what appeared to be bulldozed burial pits but did not witness executions.

Chauy also recalled how, in 1974, when he was harvesting rice, his weapon and those of other bodyguards were taken away in anticipation of a visit by 002/02 co-defendant Khieu Samphan.

“I was told they did not trust us since he had his own bodyguards,” Chauy said. “I saw the car convoy, but I didn’t see him.”

A previous version of this article stated that witness Bun Loeng Chauy and his uncle Ka Sy were detained at Phnom Kraol security centre. In fact, they were detained at another site near the centre.

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Malaysian MP calls on his government to take stand on Cambodian elections

    A Malaysian parliamentarian raised concerns in his country on Wednesday about Cambodia’s July 29 national elections and urged his government to clarify its position on the subject, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said on Thursday. Wong Chen, a member of the People’s

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not