Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Namhong causes stir at Khmer Rouge court




Namhong causes stir at Khmer Rouge court

Namhong causes stir at Khmer Rouge court

Nuon Chea’s defence team will file a complaint to the Khmer Rouge tribunal this week, alleging that Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong’s comments published at his insistence in the Post last week amounted to government interference, the defence announced yesterday.

In the letter, which ran in the August 3 edition, the minister hit back at witness testimony last week that alleged that he was in charge of Boeng Trabek detention centre by stating, without refuting the testimony, that he was a prisoner there, and lambasted the defence for “stirring up controversy around public figures like myself”.

The letter ended: “My greatest hope is that one day justice is done and the legacy of the Khmer Rouge is given its proper place in the dustbin of history—without defence or controversy.”

The attempt by Nuon Chea’s defence counsel, Jasper Pauw, to explain the complaint abruptly ended when the court president shut off his microphone.

“You’re not allowed to proceed, and the chamber has advised that if there is any issue to be raised, you may raise it in writing,” said Nonn.

For the rest of the afternoon, the court continued to hear the testimony of Khmer Rouge Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Propaganda employee Suong Sikoeun.

According to Sikoeun, part of whose job was translating foreign reports on Cambodia, even summarising these reports to anyone other than his immediate superior, Ieng Sary, could have invited accusations of anti-revolutionary ideology.

“[Ieng Sary’s] instructions were … that I should not add or omit anything,” said Sikoeun. “For that reason, that’s how it was reported to him, and it was no problem. At that time, if I reported [to the rest of the leadership] what was broadcast on Voice of America, I would be accused of having the same view as what was on Voice of America.”

Sikoeun himself was accused in a handful of S-21 confessions, many of which were so improbable, he said, that they read like “novels”.

Later in life, he continued, on a trip to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, he found photos of several friends he knew had been falsely accused.

“If I knew that was the result, I would never have joined the [Khmer Rouge],” he said. “That’s not a revolution.”

Sikoeun’s testimony will continue tomorrow.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart White at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered

  • Women detained for forcing kids to beg

    Two women were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday for forcing six children to beg for money for several months at the Chhouk Meas market in Krang Thnong commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district. Phnom Penh Department of Anti-human Trafficking and