Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former interrogator tells of ‘smashing’ detainees in KRT testimony

Former interrogator tells of ‘smashing’ detainees in KRT testimony

Witness 2-TCW-900 appears before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia via video link during Case 002/02 yesterday. ECCC
Witness 2-TCW-900 appears before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia via video link during Case 002/02 yesterday. ECCC

Former interrogator tells of ‘smashing’ detainees in KRT testimony

A former radio communications worker and interrogator at the Au Kanseng security centre was questioned at length by prosecutors on internal meetings and “re-education” techniques at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

Dressed in a striped white shirt and oval glasses, the anonymous witness gave his testimony via video link in the current Case 002/02 against former Khmer Rouge leaders Noun Chea and Khieu Samphan.

The witness – who was only identified as Witness 2-TCW-900 – detailed how he took notes during interrogations at the prison, where he estimated hundreds of people were killed between 1977 and 1978 while he was stationed there.

Although he said he could not recall the precise number of those who perished at the “re-education centre”, he said only a handful – about 10 – died of illnesses such as malaria or dysentery, while the vast majority of the deceased were “smashed”.

When asked whether he had seen or read written confessions used by the chief interrogator, the witness spoke of the culture of fear, paranoia and distrust within the centre.

“I myself had to be careful in what I said or what I asked,” he said. “If I wanted to know more about … other people, it means I put my security at risk.”

The witness said he became a revolutionary solider in 1970 and was transferred to the prison in 1977, after a stint establishing radio communication posts for the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh.

As previous prisoners have testified, the witness confirmed some 100 ethnic Jarai people were brought to the cramped Au Kanseng centre before being executed en masse.

“I can recall the instruction about the ethnic Jarai . . . After hearing the report, [my superior] summed up the report and said, ‘Please solve it’,” the witness said.

“It was our understanding that that the words ‘solve it’ meant ‘kill’.”

Prior to the witness taking the stand, the prosecution asked the court to consider including two more witnesses to give additional testimony on the topic of the Phnom Kraol security centre, as half of their intended witnesses were now deceased.

But Anita Guisse, defence counsel for Khieu Samphan, objected, stating it was a “tardy” attempt by the prosecution to “adjust” the evidence and “prolong indefinitely” the proceedings.

The trial continues today.

A previous version of this article misstated the name of the Phnom Kraol security centre as Krom Kraol. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states