Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Samphan named as attendee at meeting

Samphan named as attendee at meeting

Samphan named as attendee at meeting

Frail and white-haired Oeun Tan, a former messenger and bodyguard of Brother No 1 Pol Pot, named ex-president Khieu Samphan as a frequent participant in upper-level Khmer Rouge meetings in his testimony at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

The testimony seems to directly contradict statements by Khieu Samphan and his defence, who have repeatedly tried to downplay the role of the former head of state in the Democratic Kampuchea regime, going so far as to call his office little more than “window dressing”.

Oeun Tan, an illiterate, ethnic minority villager who sometimes travelled with Pol Pot on official business during the regime, told prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal that Khieu Samphan had met with other high-ranking Khmer Rouge cadres on a near-weekly basis even before the official establishment of Democratic Kampuchea.

“I knew Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, but I did not know others,” he said, describing early meetings between the revolutionary leaders.

After the fall of Phnom Penh, said Oeun Tan, Khieu Samphan was privy not only to the regularly scheduled monthly or bi-weekly meetings with zone and sector committees, but also to what he called “special meetings”, smaller ad hoc meetings between the leadership and unknown officials.

In his pre-trial statement, read in court by co-prosecutor Tarik Abdulhak, Oeun Tan, who joined the revolution hoping to remedy his illiteracy, said that the special meetings “took place in cases of necessity to resolve food supplies and put up dams”.

“I was told by [Chhim Sam Aok alias] Pang that today the meeting would be convened as a special one, and that Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea would be the attendees,” Oeun Tan said when asked how he knew about the meetings.

An employee of K-7 – the Khmer Rouge’s communications office – Oeun Tan also testified to the link in communications between upper-level party members, saying that all telegrams received by Pol Pot were then passed along to Nuon Chea.

Oeun Tan was also Office S-71 leader Pang’s direct subordinate.

In his testimony he described his worry when his boss disappeared in 1978, and his own efforts to conceal it.

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

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said