Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KR leader’s wife, cook paint different pictures

KR leader’s wife, cook paint different pictures

KR leader’s wife, cook paint different pictures

111214_02
Meas Channa, a former cook for three of the Khmer Rouge leaders on trial, attends the ECCC yesterday.

Two tenants of the Royal Palace during the Khmer Rouge regime who attended the tribunal yesterday have polarized views on the culpability of former president and one-time Royal Palace resident Khieu Samphan.

In a simple blue shirt and sampot, 60-year-old Sar Socheat looked like an ordinary middle-class woman, not the wife of an ex-president who once lived under the same roof as King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

“My husband is a well educated man, who would never deal in betrayal, corruption or bribery,” Sar Socheat told the Post yesterday. “He never joined in any of the killing – what he has done is for the interest of the nation, for territorial integrity, the honour of the nation.”

Khieu Samphan’s wife was emotional at times while attending yesterday’s hearing with the couple’s youngest son, who is studying in Phnom Penh.

“I would like the court to find the truth about who is actually responsible for the killing,” Sar Socheat said of the court’s work to unravel the truth of the Khmer Rouge regime more than three decades ago.

“If the court needs me to testify in the case, then I will do it,” she said, adding she visited her husband about once a week.   

However, another former resident of the Royal Palace, former Royal Palace cook Meas Channa, was not so quick to jump to Khieu Samphan’s defence.

“I always saw Khieu Samphan and the other two [Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary] holding meetings and sharing lunch together,” the 49-year-old said, adding that the former president would always do the food ordering for guests.

Meas Channa was just 14 years old when she was forced to begin working long hours as a cook in the Royal Palace where the King Father and Khieu Samphan resided.

“I think the charges against him are right,” she said, “He [Khieu Samphan] and others leaders gave orders to their people to do everything.”

Meas Channa told the Post she worked for Khieu Samphan at the Royal Palace for nearly a year and described her employer as a “strict and serious person”.

“It is the first time I have seen him in more than 30 years, I see he looks very old,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,