Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Testy exchanges between prosecutor, witness at KRT

Testy exchanges between prosecutor, witness at KRT

Civil party 2-TCCP-274 testifies about her forced marriage at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday. ECCC
Civil party 2-TCCP-274 testifies about her forced marriage at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday. ECCC

Testy exchanges between prosecutor, witness at KRT

In a series of testy exchanges yesterday at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, international co-prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian repeatedly reminded a key witness that he was under oath after his testimony contradicted numerous previous statements he had made.

The witness, who was identified only as 2-TCW-850 because he is involved in ongoing investigations at the tribunal, was the secretary of Baray district in Kampong Thom during the Khmer Rouge’s rule.

Among his numerous denials, the witness claimed he had not seen any disappearances or killings in Baray district. That prompted Koumjian to cite a quote attributed to the witness in Behind the Killing Fields, a book by former Post journalist Thet Sambath.

“‘Thousands in the district were eventually executed as spies’,” Koumjian said, reading from the book, before telling the witness: “You are required to tell the truth and could be punished if you perjure yourself.”

The exchange was one of many between the prosecution and the witness in the ongoing trial of the two surviving Khmer Rouge leaders: Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. The prosecution is seeking to establish a direct connection between the two defendants and mass executions.

After 2-TCW-850 denied attending meetings run by Nuon Chea in Phnom Penh, Koumjian played an audio clip from a 2008 interview in which the witness told investigators from the Documentation Center of Cambodia that he and other regional leaders had taken part in annual meetings in the capital chaired by Nuon Chea.

“Do you recognise your own voice?” Koumjian asked.

“Yes, I do,” he replied, adding that his memory was not as good as before.

When the witness was asked whether fear was driving his change of testimony, he again said he was unable to recall everything. And when asked whether he felt guilty, he told the court that he had nothing to hide.

The repeated denials saw a frustrated Koumjian ask: “What about the disappearances of your colleagues and the deaths of people that you knew? Are those the kinds of things you’d forget?”

The witness also rejected testimony given previously by Ban Siek, a former Khmer Rouge cadre, in which Siek had told the court that 2-TCW-850 knew about Baray’s security centre and the mass executions that had taken place there.

At the end of yesterday’s session, an unnamed civil party told the court about her forced marriage during the Khmer Rouge regime: how, after the disappearance of her first husband, she was forced into an “arranged family” under threat of unspecified action that would be taken against her. Others who refused to be forcibly married, she said, disappeared and never came back.

Her testimony is to continue today.

MOST VIEWED

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”