Documentary Hearings Show KR Abuses

People were forced to live like “slaves” and “wild animals” during the Pol Pot regime, the Khmer Rouge tribunal heard Monday during the first day of documentary hearings in the second phase of Case 002.

A wide range of evidence relating to killings and abuse of former Lon Nol soldiers, Buddhists and people who moved “too freely” during the regime was presented by co-prosecutors, while civil party lawyers read excerpts from survivors’ statements.

Civil party lawyers read statements from five of their clients who did not have the opportunity to give testimony during the first segment of this phase of the trial—which focused on Tram Kak district—including Soth Var Van.

“Life resembled the life of a slave. The Khmer Rouge forced people to work without any rest and accused them of being enemies. People had to live like wild animals without any sanitation and without any housing,” Marie Guiraud, the international civil party lead co-lawyer, read from Mr. Var Van’s statement.

The documentary hearings give parties the opportunity to highlight a selection of the 10,000 documents on the case file they see as most important for this segment of the case.

Dale Lysak, senior assistant prosecutor, presented evidence against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan—who are on trial for crimes including genocide—illustrating the hierarchical chain of command within the Communist Party of Kampuchea, including a report from Kraing Ta Chan prison chief Ta An about the interrogation of an inmate.

“When our comrade in the army interrogated her, she kept crying and her face became black, which was her pretense; therefore, according to my examination, only with hot interrogation would she confess,” states the report signed by the chief of the prison, where an estimated 15,000 people perished.

“Within the army workplace at Ang Ta Saom there are no confidential places to conduct interrogation at ease; therefore, it is submitted to the party for information. Whatever the party decides, I look forward to executing the decision,” it continues.

The documentary hearings are scheduled to continue Tuesday.

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