A slew of documentary evidence was presented at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday related to the treatment of Cham Muslims and ethnic Vietnamese during the Pol Pot regime, including a recording of late CPP president and former Khmer Rouge district secretary Chea Sim recounting mass killings of ethnic minorities.
Prosecution and civil party lawyers used the hearing, an opportunity for parties to highlight a selection of documents in the case file, to present evidence meant to prove the regime targeted the two groups with the intent to destroy them.
Dale Lysak, senior assistant prosecutor, played the court a recording of a 1991 interview in which Chea Sim, who served as chief of Ponhea Krek district in the regime’s Eastern Zone before defecting to Vietnam, explains how the killing of Cham Muslims and other ethnic minorities escalated under the communists.
“At that time, the Cham people were considered one of those ethnicities living in Cambodia…. They were all killed, regardless [of] whether they were the Cham ethnicity or other ethnicities,” Chea Sim said in the interview with academic Ben Kiernan.
“There were killings before 1970 and it also continued in the later part of the 1970s, and more killings took place in 1975 and it became intensified in 1978,” he said.
Deputy co-prosecutor William Smith then read an excerpt from a 1977 speech by Democratic Kampuchea head of state Khieu Samphan—who is on trial alongside Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea—in which he said: “We must wipe out the enemy” and “suppress all stripes of the enemy.”
“We submit this speech was an indicator that the Communist Party of Kampuchea [CPK] had a very broad category as to who was an enemy,” Mr. Smith said. “When Khieu Samphan said that we must suppress all stripes of enemies, we submit this document goes to support that anyone that was deemed to be an enemy would be killed.”
The prosecutor also cited a letter from Meas Muth—the regime’s navy commander who has been charged with genocide in Case 003—to Pol Pot, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary reporting the execution of 120 captured Vietnamese.
“We would submit, again, that this is evidence of the intention of the CPK leadership to kill Vietnamese combatants and noncombatants as they were captured and then shot to death,” he said.
Mr. Smith then read an excerpt from a speech delivered by Pol Pot on the third anniversary of the establishment of Democratic Kampuchea in which he said that “not one seed” of the Vietnamese could be found in Cambodian territory.
“The relevance for that passage, we would submit, is that certainly by April 1978, [there was an] admission by Pol Pot that there were no Vietnamese left in Cambodia,” he said.