Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fear led to betrayal, witness tells KRT

Fear led to betrayal, witness tells KRT

Witness 2-TCW-1005 gives his testimony at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 yesterday. ECCC
Witness 2-TCW-1005 gives his testimony at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 yesterday. ECCC

Fear led to betrayal, witness tells KRT

A former Khmer Rouge messenger told the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday of the paranoia and fear that drove cadres to turn against each other during a series of internal purges.

Witness 2-TCW-1005, whose name was kept confidential by the court, testified that he joined the communist revolution in 1973 at the age of 15, after a demonstration led by his school teachers in which he participated was met with a violent response.

“Later on, they were shot dead. In light of the experience I had when I was at school, I decided to join the revolution to fight against Lon Nol,” the witness said. But the party he joined – which implicated “traitors” through self-criticism sessions – fostered a climate of suspicion.

Revolutionary Flags – propaganda magazines – were read at party meetings and dictated: “We must take absolute measures in [a] zero tolerance manner and without hesitation” to “eliminate enemies burrowing within”.

“Everybody was afraid of everybody else, and we did not trust one another,” the witness said. “I sacrificed myself to the party, and I would not protest any assignment by the party.”

When referring to the party’s stance that such enemies should be “swept clean”, the witness agreed with the prosecution’s assertion that this was a code for “killing”. “When a person was swept clean, it means they have to be gone,” he said.

The witness’s testimony forms part of the trial segment on internal purges and security centres in Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, which resumed today after a three-week break.

He said that while comrades were tasked with unravelling links to international spy agencies, meetings made no mention of “the hunger suffered by the people”.

His father – despite good connections with Son Sen, a member of the Khmer Rouge inner circle – was said to have been arrested, but it was only after the regime that the witness learned of the notorious S-21 prison, today the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

His cousin, he said, was a close confidant of Ta Mok – one of the Khmer Rouge senior leaders known as “the butcher” – who led the Southwest Zone.

The witness also named defendants in upcoming cases 003 and 004/01 – Meas Muth and Im Chaem – during his testimony.

He said Muth was chief of Sector 13 – where the witness was initially stationed – until 1975, when he allegedly became a naval commander. Ta Mok moved trustworthy cadre like Im Chaem to different zones to replace purged zone leaders, he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the