Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Turkey coup comes up at KRT

Turkey coup comes up at KRT

Expert witness Henri Locard gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday during Case 002/02. ECCC
Expert witness Henri Locard gives his testimony before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday during Case 002/02. ECCC

Turkey coup comes up at KRT

The defence for Nuon Chea at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday drew a link between the rhetoric used in the wake of the recent coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and that of Democratic Kampuchea.

Charges pertaining to internal purges form part of the current Case 002/02 against Chea and his co-defendant Khieu Samphan, though the Chea defence has argued the Khmer Rouge faced legitimate threats of a coup d’état from within its own ranks in the late 1970s.

During his cross-examination of expert witness Henri Locard, Chea’s lawyer, Victor Koppe, asked the historian if terms like “microbes”, “cancer” and “parasite” formed part of “slogans that strikingly expressed Democratic Kampuchea policies”.

Locard, who compiled Khmer Rouge sayings in Pol Pot’s Little Red Book, agreed those terms were used to dehumanise their internal enemies and “sweep them clean”. “Before eliminating the people, they had to be excluded from mankind,” Locard said.

“Basically, they were monsters, they were insects, they were . . . bloodsuckers, and so on.”

Koppe then asked Locard if he recognised the quotation: “We will continue to cleanse the virus from all state institutions, because this virus has spread. Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state.”

Locard said while it was not a Democratic Kampuchea slogan published in his book, it was likely part of a speech by someone in a position of power. The comment, Koppe confirmed, came from Turkey’s Erdogan, who in the last two weeks has arrested thousands and vowed to purge state bodies following an attempted coup.

Koppe went on to question Locard’s previous use of psychiatric terms to describe his client. “When you’re saying that Nuon Chea is either schizophrenic, power-hungry or paranoid, that is just your personal opinion, correct?”

Locard said the diagnosis came from other academics, maintaining that he had never fallen prey to “confirmation bias” in his research nor sought to unfairly attribute extraneous crimes to the Khmer Rouge.

“I think the Khmer Rouge have committed enough crimes . . . I am always very angry when I hear they committed crimes they did not commit.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Malaysia MP accused of ‘influencing law’

    Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Sng arrived in Siem Reap early on Wednesday, in what was slammed by one NGO as efforts by Kuala Lumpur to “influence Cambodian law”. The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh requested on January 30 “cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign

  • Ministries begin measures to offset EU’s EBA decision

    In the wake of the EU’s controversial announcement this week that it has begun the withdrawal process for Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential agreement, government ministries and political analysts continued to share their reactions and economic mitigation plans in preparation for the

  • Emirates launches route connecting Phnom Penh, Bangkok

    Emirates will launch a daily service on June 1 linking Phnom Penh (PNH) and Bangkok (BKK). The service from Phnom Penh to Dubai, via Bangkok, will provide more flight options to passengers travelling between the capitals of Cambodia and Thailand. Travellers from the Southeast Asian nations

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s