Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - S-21 functionary testifies at KRT

S-21 functionary testifies at KRT

Suos Thy (left) gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday in Phnom Penh during Case 002/02. ECCC
Suos Thy (left) gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday in Phnom Penh during Case 002/02. ECCC

S-21 functionary testifies at KRT

Witness Suos Thy, a former list-maker at the infamous S-21 prison, testified before the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, recounting the internal operations of the security centre.

He joined the Khmer Rouge rebels in 1971 during their struggle to overthrow the US-backed Lon Nol regime. In 1972 he fought in Siem Reap as a part of Regiment 123.

“I was wounded and then I was re-assigned as a medic,” he told the court.

Reassigned to Battalion 112, chaired by Huy, he maintained a list of personnel, weapons and ammunition and made daily reports to the regiment “until the day Phnom Penh fell in April 1975”.

Huy recommended Thy for his list-making skills to work under comrade “Hor” at PJ prison – the one-time judicial police station that later became an office of S-21 – before moving to the main compound at Tuol Sleng, where he remained until the Vietnamese-led invasion captured Phnom Penh in 1979.

“Hor was my superior in my guard unit and he received direct orders or instruction from Duch”, the chairman of S-21, Thy said, adding that “only Hor gave orders to me”.

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav and who was convicted by the tribunal for his role in Case 001, is set to testify next week.

Despite his years of work at the prison and attending three-day political study sessions led by Duch, Thy said he did “not know about the objective or role of S-21 or that of the regime”.

In the afternoon, Thy said that, in his experience, “not a single prisoner was released”.“Duch was the one who made the decision as to the number of prisoners to be taken out for execution, and he was the sole decision-maker in this regard,” he said, adding that he prepared the execution lists based on notations made by Duch on prisoner’s files.

“He would annotate with the word kom, denoting the word komtech, or smash,” he said.

Describing prisoner intake, Thy said that “for the prisoner’s biography, I already had the preprinted form and I only needed to fill in the blanks”.

Children under the age of 15 were not recorded.

“Usually the children who came to that centre were with their parents,” he continued, adding that he could not remember if he registered children that arrived alone, although prosecutor Vincent De Wilde noted several in the files, including one accused of being a Vietnamese spy who was executed the day after being admitted.

Children were separated when it came time to smash them. “It was Hor who decided when to take out the children.”

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of