‘Long Sword Militia’ Member Tells of Khmer Rouge Killings

A former member of a Kompong Cham-based Khmer Rouge unit named the “Long Sword Militia” told the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Tuesday that he heard of plans to wipe out Cham Muslims in his commune.

Testifying in the current segment of the trial, in which the prosecution is seeking to prove that Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan specifically targeted Cham Muslims with the intent to destroy them, Soy Doeun, 68, said that he carried out orders to arrest entire families belonging to the religious minority in Kang Meas district’s Peam Chikang commune.

Soy Doeun stands during proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday.
Soy Doeun stands during proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday. (ECCC)

“When you received orders to arrest the Cham, was the Long Sword unit ordered to arrest entire families, that is men, women and children?” assistant prosecutor Dale Lysak asked the witness.

“Yes, we arrested both parents and their children,” Mr. Doeun replied.

Queried on who gave the orders, the witness said they came from a member of the commune committee named Pheap, who claimed they had been relayed to her from the regime’s “upper echelons.” However, Mr. Doeun admitted that he never himself heard orders being given to commune officials by regime leaders.

Mr. Doeun said he was also informed by commune-level officials of a policy to wipe out local Cham Muslims.

“I heard of the plan that no single Cham should be spared,” said the witness, who spent most of the day with his head bowed, giving only brief answers.

Mr. Doeun denied that his group of 14 sword-wielding cadre carried out any killings, but claimed that cadre in another unit had admitted to doing so.

“Those were the ones who arrested people and killed people,” he said. “Those security guards, when they came to visit the village, they told us that, and then they went back to their place. I was afraid. I didn’t dare to ask them for more details.”

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