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Regime's 'first lady' has her say

Regime's 'first lady' has her say

090226_06.jpg
090226_06.jpg

In an unofficial partial transcript of her testimony Tuesday at the KR tribunal, Ieng Thirith unleashes on her former regime comrades.

Photo by:

ECCC POOL/HENG SINITH

Ieng Thirith listens to court proceedings Tuesday at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. 

"I know who ordered [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Kaing Guek Eav to kill people, and I would like to say that is Nuon Chea who ordered the arrest of my students into a truck and then killed them.

"University students from Russia and France - when I returned they came along with me to live in Phnom Penh.

"At that time it happened that my students were arrested and killed. It was (Brother No 2) Nuon Chea - I want to tell. They used a nice truck and took my students then kill them.

"The military hospital was in disrepair at the time that I first arrived. I was in charge of social affairs and so I had to see the patients. When I went there I found the patients sleeping miserably on the ground so I decided to rebuild the hospital.

"The people in the area, they gave me their workers to help me, so I alone with these expert workers repaired the hospital and the pharmaceutical factory. I rode a bicycle there and had dinner with the workers, and in the evening I returned.

"Some other students worked in the pharmaceutical factory - there were four factories at that time in Phnom Penh. There were two Chinese experts working in each factory by the order of [Chinese Premier] Zhou Enlai to help me.  You can ask, my remaining students were put on a truck and killed in Kaing Guek Eav's prison. It is a good time now to have my say, that Nuon Chea killed all of my students. Do not accuse me; I am the protector of my students.

"I come from a well-bred  family. My grandfather was a director of a school for judges  and my father was a school principal in Battambang. I am well-educated and never committed any wrongdoing, and I have never been a murderer.What I have done, I have done  for my nation, my people. They took all my students and gave them to Kaing Guek Eav to kill.

  NUON CHEA AND KAING GUEK EAV ARE THE SAME PERSON. NUON CHEA SENT THE ORDERS AND KAING GUEK EAV CARRIED THEM OUT.

"Do not link Nuon Chea with me. I suffered [at the hands of]  Nuon Chea, my students were the victims. It is so unjust to believe whatever Nuon Chea says. I never knew where S-21 was. Do not accuse me of murder or you will be cursed to the seventh level of hell.

"The reason that I am here is to speak the truth. I have been waiting for years, because ... I had no idea where Kaing Guek Eav lived. I never talked to him - only after Nuon Chea brought my students to be killed did I start to know who this person was.

"So afterwards there was only one student left, the person whom I asked to guard the office. Everybody else who wanted to help build the factory or repair the hospital had been executed.

"So the educated people were asked to go to the [Phnom Penh] to help build the hospital. I myself rode a bicycle and, as minister of social affairs, I was only given a bicycle and I rode that to go build the hospital.

"I do not know why a good person is being accused of such crimes. I have suffered a great deal, and I can't be patient because I am wrongly accused. I'm sorry if I am being extreme.

"The real murderer, the guy who killed everybody is detained, I had nothing to do with Kaing Guek Eav. Nuon Chea and Kaing Guek Eav are the same person. Nuon Chea sent the orders and Kaing Guek Eav carried them out. I have to tell the truth, and I want justice to be done, and I don't want you to prosecute anyone, but you have to make a decision.

"I once again want to confirm to you that I know the murderers. You already know who my grandfather was, my father, we are from a well-bred family ... I just want to tell you that our family is well-bred  and we never committed any crimes. We tried our best to train students, and when the students were brought to Cambodia they were put on a truck and then executed. I think now is the time for me to tell you the truth because you have never known this.

"Of course, if there are cruel Cambodian people, then they have to be prosecuted and investigated. Again, I don't know Kaing Guek Eav and I hate him, but I have never challenged him as leader of the regime. That is all I have to say."

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