Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Witness pressed on alleged coup plans against Pol Pot

Witness pressed on alleged coup plans against Pol Pot

Witness 2-TCW-1037 testifies at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday during Case 002/02. ECCC
Witness 2-TCW-1037 testifies at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia yesterday during Case 002/02. ECCC

Witness pressed on alleged coup plans against Pol Pot

Nuon Chea’s defence lawyer, Victor Koppe, sought to unravel the details of an alleged plot to topple Pol Pot yesterday, questioning a witness about the names of soldiers and their strategies for overthrowing the Khmer Rouge leader.

Internal strife within the Khmer Rouge has been the foundation of Nuon Chea’s defence, which argues that numerous competing factions committed a range of atrocities without the endorsement of their top leadership. Chea and his co-defendant Khieu Samphan are both on trial for various crimes against humanity attributed to the regime they helped lead.

Taking the stand yesterday was witness 2TCW-1037, who began working for the Northwest Zone’s economics and logistics division in 1973, eventually rising to the position of deputy chief attached to Division 2.

“You said you obtained information that both divisions had planned to fight back against Pol Pot. Do you have any concrete details as to what these two divisions were supposed to be doing against Pol Pot?” Koppe asked the witness.

“Their plans were not materialised yet; they did not have a clear network or structure to materialise the plan, and when their plan was found out, they were purged continuously,” the witness responded.

The witness said he was unable to recall the names of the people who told him about the coup plot, but claimed that many had said the plans were the reason some of the regime’s top leadership were purged post-1977.

He also revealed that a colleague named Ta Soun told him that Ta Vanh, the chief of military staff in the Northwest Zone until his arrest in 1977, had illegally created and armed his own military force.

“Do you recall details? What did Soun tell you about what Vanh had done exactly?” Koppe pressed. “Did he give you the location of weapons being hidden?”

But the witness was unable to provide further details about the plan or who was behind it, adding only that another colleague, Ta Keu, had warned him to be mindful of the fluctuating political climate.

“The Northwest people were arresting their own people, and then the Southwest people began arresting the Northwest people,” the witness said.

He did, however, testify to seeing Ta Nhim and Sao Pim, two of the Khmer Rouge leaders alleged to have turned against Pol Pot and Nuon Chea, travelling together by boat on the Tonle Sap river.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.