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

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Police warn boycott FB group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign”

    Police said on Tuesday that they will pick up members of a Facebook group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign” that promotes a boycott of next month’s national elections. However, police merely planned to “educate” the group for now, but warned that if the

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk