Ex-Khmer Rouge Official Denies Sending Prisoners to Be ‘Eliminated’

A former local official in the Khmer Rouge regime maintained at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Monday that no one was sent to the Kraing Ta Chan security center in Takeo province under his supervision, despite prison records showing people were “eliminated” at the prison after arriving from his commune.

Nut Nouv, who was chief of Tram Kak district’s Sre Ronong commune in 1978, was dismissive of excerpts read from a Kraing Ta Chan record book stating that at least six people, including former Khmer Republic soldiers, were killed or died of starvation there in 1978.

“All these names might have been sent to Kraing Ta Chan before my arrival. After my arrival at Sre Ronong commune no one was arrested and sent to the Kraing Ta Chan center,” Mr. Nouv claimed.

“You said you arrived early 1978 or late 1977 and all these people came to Kraing Ta Chan after March 1978, so that is the time you were in office there,” retorted senior assistant prosecutor Vincent de Wilde.

Questioned by Victor Koppe, a defense lawyer for Nuon Chea, Mr. Nouv claimed he only learned of the killings at the security center following his release in 1986 from a Takeo jail, where he had been imprisoned by Vietnamese troops after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

The witness was also presented with testimony from Chou Koemlan, a civil party who appeared at the tribunal in January, who claimed “everyone was afraid of Ta Nouv as he was rather cruel and strict” during his time working at the Leay Bour commune office between 1976 and 1977. Mr. Nouv acknowledged that he used a “big voice” during some meetings.

Despite previously claiming he only followed orders from the higher echelons of the communist party, Mr. Nouv also said many commune chiefs held “absolute” autonomy and controlled their own administrations.

Hearings continue on Tuesday with testimony from Riel Sorn, chief of Tram Kak district hospital during the Pol Pot regime.

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