Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khieu Samphan defence rebuts key documents at KRT

Khieu Samphan defence rebuts key documents at KRT

Onlookers observe Case 002/02 proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. ECCC
Onlookers observe Case 002/02 proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. ECCC

Khieu Samphan defence rebuts key documents at KRT

The defence for former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan yesterday sought to debunk evidence presented at the tribunal earlier this week that suggested the regime maintained a nationwide policy to regulate marriage and the role of the family.

On Tuesday, documents presented by the prosecution painted a picture of a regime aiming to increase the population by forcing women to marry men of its choosing.

However, defence lawyer Anta Guisse argued that the prosecution had taken those passages out of context, and claimed the regime had sought to boost the population by improving living standards – not by forcing people to marry.

“We should pay attention to the fact that we cannot look at what people said a long time ago and find in that the root of subsequent policy,” Guisse said. “Admittedly, [the documents] speak of an increase in the population, but this was done in a specific context.”

The two defendants, Samphan and Nuon Chea, who was deputy to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, are on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity. The tribunal has recently heard testimony related to the charge of forced marriage.

Earlier this week, the prosecution had read a passage from Gina Chon’s and Thet Sambath’s book Beyond the Killing Fields, which included a quote attributed to Nuon Chea: “The man always wants to choose a beautiful girl, so that’s why we forced them to get married, and Angkar chose the wife.”

Angkar was the name for the faceless leadership of the Khmer Rouge.

However, Guisse argued that many of the documents presented by the co-prosecutors related only to increasing the population and not to marriage.

She quoted extracts from the documents presented by the prosecution that described efforts to improve the general health of the population by dispatching doctors, improving nutrition and eradicating diseases such as malaria.

“There was no link made to marriage here,” Guisse said. “Each time we referred to speeches made by the leaders of Democratic Kampuchea in regards to increasing the population, they always do so in relation to the issues of health and the development of the country, and in particular in improving the living conditions of the country.”

Nuon Chea’s defence team did not offer a response to the documents.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune