Lawyers for Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary are attempting to challenge allegations that he delivered victims into the hands of the secret police, saying that former S-21 Chairman Kaing Guek Eav should be placed under oath if he is called to testify in this year’s trials.
With three other defendants, Ieng Sary, 85, was indicted in September based in part on testimony provided by Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who said the foreign minister personally approved the arrests and detentions of subordinates, who were then tortured and executed with his full knowledge. According to the indictment, 113 workers at the Khmer Rouge Foreign Ministry, then known as B-1, were killed at S-21.
Ieng Sary—charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide—has denied knowledge of the executions, and has said he never met Duch or visited S-21.
In a motion filed last week, Ieng Sary’s lawyers, Ang Udom and Michael Karnavas, said that should Duch, 68, testify in the coming trials, he should do so under penalty of perjury, unlike defendants, civil parties or family members of the accused.
At trial in 2009, judges found that Duch had sought to minimize his own responsibility for the deaths of an estimated 14,000 people killed at S-21. He was sentenced to 35 years, of which 19 remained to be served. An appeal judgment is expected in June.
“It is especially important that Duch be required to testify under oath and under penalty of perjury since the Trial Chamber has already found that his unsworn statements lack credibility,” the defense wrote.
In a separate motion filed last week, lawyers for Khmer Rouge second-in-command Nuon Chea, 84, again moved for the disqualification of the entire Trial Chamber bench, saying in July’s judgment against Duch that they had unfairly arrived at conclusions concerning Nuon Chea’s personal responsibility for alleged crimes.
The motion compounds a different filing lodged this month by a lawyer for Social Action Minister Ieng Thirith, who also called for the trial judges’ disqualification in the coming trials. A separate panel of five judges has been constituted to consider that motion.