Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Medic recalls Pol Pot’s ‘treason’



Medic recalls Pol Pot’s ‘treason’

Former Khmer Rouge regiment commander Ieng Phan (left) testifies before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Case 002/02 earlier this week. ECCC
Former Khmer Rouge regiment commander Ieng Phan (left) testifies before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Case 002/02 earlier this week. ECCC

Medic recalls Pol Pot’s ‘treason’

A former Khmer Rouge medic – and relative of former East Zone secretary Sao Phim – yesterday told the Khmer Rouge tribunal that he began fighting a battle on two fronts, against both Vietnam and Pol Pot, after he learned of the “treasonous” mass executions of his fellow cadres.

The witness, identified by the pseudonym 2-TCW-1065, served as a medic during intense border clashes with the Vietnamese before eventually accepting their help.

The witness said he shared a blood tie, through his grandmother, with reputed “traitor” Sao Phim, who was suspected of planning a coup d’etat. Phim took his own life in 1977 after being surrounded by his Khmer Rouge comrades.

“Sao Phim said Pol Pot did not betray all of us, but I myself believed [he] betrayed us, because Pol Pot killed people,” he said. “An army came with tanks to surround [Sao Phim] . . . he had no choice but kill himself.”

With great attention to detail, the witness recounted how, in 1977, a large group of people at the Eastern battlefront were called to a meeting and executed. One soldier managed to escape on foot, but was shot in the arm as he fled.

“He ran to see me and told me cadres invited to the meeting had all been arrested . . . And I realised Pol Pot committed treason,” the witness said.

One person spared by these mass killings was current National Assembly President Heng Samrin, who was assigned to another office, the witness said.

The witness took to the stand after two-star General Ieng Phan completed his testimony from Monday, in which he said Khmer Rouge leader Ta Mok was “very strict in his words”.

“‘Above his head there was his hat, and above his hat there was only sky’ . . . That expression was used when we wanted to refer to his power,” Phan said, indicating no one was Mok’s superior.

Phan also recalled the moment when he was twice wounded in battle against the Vietnamese. “I was wounded in my leg, and while I was being carried through the rice field, we stepped on a mine and a person who was carrying me at the front died,” he said, adding mines were laid by both sides.

“That is the art of war, we had to use all kinds of tactics or strategies,” he said.

Defence lawyer Victor Koppe questioned Phan about Pen Sovann, Cambodia’s first post-Khmer Rouge prime minister, who passed away on October 29 at 80. “Unfortunately, [he] died two days ago. So he will never testify” here, Koppe said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there