Nuon Chea was personally involved in the arrests of allegedly traitorous comrades, according to a civil party whose family had intimate ties with the Khmer Rouge leaders before they were arrested and killed.
The civil party, who was only identified as 2-TCCP-223, told the court that his father had worked with defendants Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea in Phnom Penh prior to the regime taking power. He also said he himself lived with Chea in Battambang before 1975.
Despite these close connections, the civil party testified that his father and uncle – both high-ranking officers in Battambang during the regime – were accused of being traitors, sent to S-21 and executed.
Samphan and Chea are on trial for various crimes against humanity, including internal purges, though the defence teams have long argued there is not a direct link between their defendants and the atrocities committed under their rule.
After the arrests of his uncle and father, the civil party was brought to Phnom Penh to attend a series of meetings about traitorous comrades, and was subsequently transferred from his Battambang office job to various manual labour assignments in and around Phnom Penh.
“I was accused of being part of the traitorous network,” the civil party said.
He also claimed Chea specifically named his uncle as one of the traitors while speaking to the audience from a stage during one of the meetings.
“Nuon Chea accused him of being a traitor of the Communist Party of Kampuchea,” he said.
“He said that the party brought all of us here in order to help us escape the killing by those traitorous leaders,” the civil party added.
Documents from the S-21 facility confirmed the internment and eventual execution of the civil party’s father and uncle. He testified that he later learned the rest of his father’s relatives were also arrested and executed.
The civil party also spoke about a meeting Nuon Chea had with high-ranking officials in Battambang, including his uncle. Afterwards, his uncle told him the subject of the meeting was arresting traitors.
“Those who purged others were finally purged by other people, which led to the collapse of the regime,” he testified.