Sann Lorn, brother-in-law of infamous Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok, yesterday told the Khmer Rouge tribunal about how he delivered truckloads of people from communes in Takeo’s Tram Kak district into the arms of waiting militia members.
Lorn spent four days ferrying people from six Tram Kak communes to a gathering point in the south of Ang Tasom commune. Commune chiefs would gather the people to be transported, and a militia commander accompanied by about 10 men would take the people off Lorn’s hands when he arrived. He said he never saw them again.
“The vehicle . . . could load 50 or 60 people at one time,” he said. “It took me two trips for the communes that had many people, but for the small numbers of people in some communes, I only took one trip.”
Lorn maintained he didn’t know who the people were, but at one point appeared to acknowledge that they were Vietnamese.
He also said he didn’t remember when he transported the people, but did say that it coincided with the mass deportation of Vietnamese people from Democratic Kampuchea, which he said he had heard happened near the beginning of the regime.
The alleged persecution of the Vietnamese forms a key part of the current Case 002/02 against former regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
The transportation, Lorn said, occurred after Case 004 suspect Yim Tith and Ta Mok had met in Tram Kak “two or three times”.
Lorn had become a messenger for the Tram Kak district’s leadership under Ta Mok’s daughter, Khom. When Khom was replaced by Pech Chim, also known as Ta Chim, Lorn continued to serve him.
Lorn denied knowing a witness named Ek Hun, who had previously told investigators that Lorn transported a total of 9,000 people. Lorn also maintained he knew nothing about the transport of former Lon Nol soldiers, whose alleged persecution at the hands of the regime is also at issue in Case 002.
Pech Chim in April rejected previous witness testimony that he ordered purges of ex-members of the Lon Nol regime after the US-backed republic was toppled by the Khmer Rouge in 1975, and denied claims by a previous witness that he ordered the execution of Khmer Krom workers sent to him by Ta Mok.