Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Testimony ends with a rebuke from court

Testimony ends with a rebuke from court

Testimony ends with a rebuke from court

Civil party Em Oeun’s list of crimes allegedly perpetrated against him by the Khmer Rouge was cut short during yesterday’s tribunal proceedings – just before he had actually begun.

Oeun, whose father was executed by the Khmer Rouge, and who was himself forced to marry and have children with a relative stranger, didn’t manage to list either of those grievances, leaving his statement apparently half-finished after a stern rebuke from Trial Chamber president Judge Nil Nonn.

“I would like to thank you, Mr President, and your honours, for this moment. I would like to thank the court. I never though that this thing would happen for me,” added Oeun, who repeatedly expressed how grateful he was for the opportunity to offer his statement to the court.

However, just as Oeun was about to launch into “the details of what [he] encountered”, the court president cut the feed from his microphone, and chided him for wasting time.

“You are not allowed to beat about the bush,” said Nonn. “You have five more minutes to get straight to the point. If you do not wish to make this statement, you may do so. It is your right to do that.”

Oeun, whose examination by the prosecution and defence had already concluded, declined to finish and left the courtroom.

“I think he was surprised by the strong words of the president,” said civil party lead co-lawyer Elisabeth Simonneau Fort, adding that the civil team in the future will have to take into account the strain that testifying puts on the civil parties.

“It’s something we have to think about, because the next civil party, we will have to prepare them,” she said. “I think it’s very difficult for them to testify because it’s something that is very important in their life.”

But under-prepared or not, she said, the president “should have let him speak, even if it was a bit long”.

The court spent the rest of the day hearing the testimony of Norng Sophang, a telegraph operator under the Khmer Rouge, who coded and decoded messages relayed between the regime’s upper leadership and its cadres across the country.

According to Sophang, the upper echelon’s well-known penchant for secrecy extended to its telegrams as well.

“It was several layers of coding, these secret telegrams,” he said. “It would take me all day to explain the process.”

Sophang’s testimony will continue today.

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

MOST VIEWED

  • 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

  • ‘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

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune