Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prosecutors see import of cables

Prosecutors see import of cables

Prosecutors see import of cables

Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal requested yesterday that 26 declassified US State Department cables be added to the case file, arguing that the decades-old missives detailing the lead-up to Phnom Penh’s fall shed unique light on the policy of evacuation at the heart of Case 002.

The cables, the prosecution argues in its filing, not only support evidence that co-accused Khieu Samphan attended high-level meetings of the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s (CPK) Central Committee, but also contradict prior Khmer Rouge claims that the evacuation of Phnom Penh was carried out in the interest of the safety and well-being of its citizens.

One cable quoted in the filing tells of six refugee children being “brutally executed by knife and bayonet”. Another describes the Khmer Rouge forces “ignoring [government troops’] defensive positions and ‘concentrat[ing] their attacks on villages, directing their fire at villagers rather than soldiers’”.

Quoting a memo on the fight for Kampong Cham town, the filing says that the Khmer Rouge “fired rockets and artillery shells point-blank into houses, so as to force out the residents hiding inside”.

The defence, particularly the defence team for Nuon Chea, has long argued that the evacuation of Phnom Penh was necessary to alleviate the dire situation and severe food shortages in the overcrowded capital.

However, the prosecution asserts, the new cables “assist in proving the purpose of CPK attacks on cities and towns, and refute the Defence position that the CPK had humanitarian goals or intentions in regards to the civilian and refugee population of Phnom Penh”.

Though originally declassified in 2005, the 1.7 million cables were only released in a searchable format earlier this month by the anti-secrecy organisation Wikileaks.

The prosecution says that fact makes the cables admissible, despite an internal rule requiring that “the requested testimony or evidence was not available before the opening of the trial”.


  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not