IENG THIRITH, like her husband, has claimed ignorant innocence about Khmer Rouge
killings. However, entries in a notebook discovered in DC-Cam by researcher Steve
Heder tell a different story.
The notebook records two speeches by Ieng Thirith in her capacity as the "Aunt
Representing the Social Action Ministry Committee" and "the Representative
of the Party for Social Action". Thirith was Democratic Kampuchea Minister for
Social Action, and a former worker in the ministry now living in Phnom Penh confirmed
to Heder that these titles were used to refer to her.
The Thirith speeches in the notebook were made in late May and June 1978, during
the massively murderous purge that wiped out most of the leading Communist Party
cadre of Democratic Kampuchea's East Zone.
In the first, she praises her "comrades" in the Ministry for having "clearly
differentiate[d]" during the purge between those who have betrayed the nation
and those who have not betrayed the nation", while warning ominously that those
in the Ministry who don't mend their "liberal" ways will "inevitably
fall into the pit of darkness", and asking pointedly, "are you on the side
of the Party or on the side of the Yuon?"
In the second, she refers to the purges in the East by proclaiming that a coup d'etat
in the East Zone that had supposedly been plotted together with the "Yuon"
had been "totally smashed" ("smashing" being the Party euphemism
She adds that her Ministry has "contributed to attacking the coup d'etat enemy",
presumably by helping to smash the "technical experts" in the Ministry
that she alleges were guilty of "wrecking" and having turned into "CIA
However, she warns that the work of eliminating enemies is not over because "the
wish of our Party is that we attack enemies" inside the Ministry "so that
they are prevented from being able to raise their heads back up". It was, no
doubt, the dark pit for them.