Nuon Chea was speaking “truthfully” during a series of interviews with Post journalist Thet Sambath, the 85-year-old testified at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, but claimed that he believed the interviews would be turned into an archive for his family.
International senior assistant co-prosecutor Dale Lysak questioned former Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea about the interviews, which were used for Thet Sambath’s award-winning documentary Enemies of the People and were also the basis of the book Behind the Killing Fields – co-written by Thet Sambath and Gina Chon.
The prosecution argued that in parts of the interviews, Nuon Chea discusses details of the pre-1975 period that are relevant to the first trial of Case 002, which focuses on the forced movement of the population in the early months of Khmer Rouge rule.
Nuon Chea said initially that he was did not think he was being taped during the interviews before stating that he “was not paying attention”.
“[Thet Sambath] told me it will be used as archive for my family, and so I told him truthfully,” Nuon Chea said.
Dale Lysak then inquired whether Nuon Chea had listed Thet Sambath as a relative to allow him to visit at the court’s detention facility, to which the defendant replied that he could not remember.
Thet Sambath said yesterday that Nuon Chea had the right to say anything at the tribunal, but he thought that it was “not right” that the court was using the book “without approval from us”.
Thet Sambath, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime, spent nearly a decade conducting interviews with Nuon Chea.