Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Witness recants and contradicts testimony

Witness recants and contradicts testimony

Witness recants and contradicts testimony

KRTalk logo
KRTalk logo

Former low-level cadre Hou Mao spent much of his testimony at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday contradicting himself, at times refuting statements he made the previous day, and occasionally refuting statements made just moments prior.

The source of confusion that caused Mao to rescind key aspects of his testimony remained unclear and parties even differed on whether he had fully recanted his most relevant piece of testimony: that defendant Khieu Samphan had been in favour of a policy of forced evacuation of cities well before the emptying of Phnom Penh.

“‘According to the position of Mr Khieu Samphan, he was in favour of the evacuation of the people.  Hou Yun was against the evacuation, and Hu Nim was not in favour of evacuation of people either,’” said Samphan’s lawyer Anta Guisse, reading Mao’s testimony from Wednesday before asking whether he knew Hu Nim’s stance on evacuations.

“I did not know about Hu Nim’s position. What I stated earlier was about Hou Yun’s position,” Mao maintained.

Guisse continued to press Mao, re-reading his previous testimony detailing where he learned of Samphan’s favourable attitude toward forced evacuations.

When asked whether he had known Samphan’s position on evacuations, Mao replied: “No, I did not know his position.  As I said, I knew the position of Mr Hou Yun, who addressed the gathering at that time.”

At that time, Mao – whose poor health and fatigue was a frequent subject of discussion – was ushered out of the courtroom for a brief break. Prosecutor Keith Raynor then requested the witness be asked to clarify whether he had denied knowing Samphan’s “position” on evacuations, or whether – with all the talk of “hierarchies” – he had denied knowing Samphan’s place within the revolution.

That clarification never came, however, with Guisse later responding that Mao “did not know Khieu Samphan’s position, nor that of Hu Nim, about the evacuation”.

“The witness did say certain things, and then the direct opposite, perhaps because he has forgotten, perhaps because he was confused, perhaps because there were leading questions,” Guisse said. “But when the witness answered my question . . . there was no lack of clarity.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not