Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trial has lifted a ‘veil of lies’: prosecution

Trial has lifted a ‘veil of lies’: prosecution

Trial has lifted a ‘veil of lies’: prosecution

Prosecution and civil party lawyers wrapped up their final rebuttals in court yesterday, ahead of the scheduled final day of closing statements in Case 002/01 today, in which the accused themselves are scheduled to take the floor.

Civil party co-lawyer Lyma Nguyen opened proceedings by telling the courtroom that the Nuon Chea defence was making a “mockery of the victims” by claiming leaders were simply implementing benevolent economic policy.

“Only if freedom is slavery and only if black is white can the death of an estimated two million Cambodians be in the best interest of the Cambodian population,” she said.

Nguyen’s national colleague Moch Sovannary continued, telling Khieu Samphan that if he bowed his head to acknowledge responsibility, he might “gradually be forgiven”.

Co-prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian opened the prosecution’s rebuttal, addressing the defence’s claim that the trial amounted to a judgment of communist ideology by Western victors.

“The accused are responsible for some of the gravest crimes committed in history,” he said. “It is not their ideology that we attempt to discredit … they have [already] discredited it themselves.”

Addressing the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in April 1975, Koumjian quoted a Khmer saying – “the back foot follows the front foot” – to illustrate that although the top leadership may not have killed directly, they “made it absolutely clear how the people should be treated” to cadres.

The intent to evacuate Phnom Penh knowing that it would lead to deaths is enough to implicate the accused in a joint criminal enterprise, he said.

Prosecutor Keith Raynor said the accused “always intended the crime of forced transfer” and that the tragedy could not be explained away with economic arguments.

“I’m sorry you’ve got to die, it’s all economic.… I’m going to starve you and make you work 15 hours a day. It’s all economic.… How dare Nuon Chea assert and tell the victims of these deaths that this was for the good of the nation?”

Raynor was dismissive of Khieu Samphan defence’s claim that no witnesses who saw killings at Tuol Po Chrey had been heard from.

“The way the defence have submitted the case on Tuol Po Chrey, you would think that [nobody] in the history of criminal cases had ever been convicted of murder where there was no witness.”

Prosecutor Tarik Abdulhak characterised the accused as men who issued irrefutably criminal orders to turn the Kingdom into a “suffering nation of slaves”.

Despite the deception of the regime, Abdulhak continued, the “veil of lies” had been lifted, proving that the accused were at “the heart of the joint criminal enterprise”.

“Nothing less [than life] can match, or come close to matching, the gravity of the crimes that they are guilty of.”

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh