A former sector secretary during the Khmer Rouge regime denied he had “blood on his hands” and said family members of suspected traitors were not purged in his province, the Khmer Rouge tribunal heard yesterday.
For Sao Sarun, who testified via videolink from Oddar Meanchey province yesterday, it was not the first time he had given evidence against former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.
The witness first testified in Case 002/01 four years ago. Though he told the court yesterday he was in his early 90s, past court documents suggest he is actually 84.
Pol Pot asked Sarun to become Sector 105 secretary in Mondulkiri after the sudden death of Ta Laing in 1977.
The prosecution asked Sarun to respond to a statement that read: “He [Sarun] does not dare to go to Mondulkiri, because his hands are stained with the blood of many people.”
Sarun vehemently denied this, saying he had often visited the province post-1979. He claimed the fact nothing happened to him when he attended a wedding there proved he was not hated by residents.
“The governor of Mondulkiri and the local military commander celebrated and threw a party when I was there,” he said.
Contrary to the testimony of previous witness Bun Loeng Chauy, Sarun denied children were arrested for the sins of the father in Mondulkiri. “It did not happen at Sector 105. When the husband was arrested, the wife was never arrested,” he said.
Sarun also told the court that Pol Pot “didn’t hate the Vietnamese people, but he hated the Vietnamese invading Kampuchea territory”.
Amid protestations from the defence team, the prosecution probed Sarun on a quotation from Nuon Chea, plucked from a book penned by Gina Chon and Sambath Thet, that reads: “The man always wants to chose a beautiful girl, so that’s why we forced them to get married and Angkar [the organisation] chose the wife.”
Sarun said he did not know much about such a policy, saying that only one or two couples were arranged to be married in his sector, but he confirmed Angkar wanted to increase the population and so marriage was “encouraged”.
The witness will continue his testimony during Case 002/02 today as the tribunal further examines Mondulkiri’s Phnom Kraol security centre.