Former Monk Tells Tribunal of Spies, Eradication of Religion

A former monk told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday of how regime cadre listened in on newlyweds in forced marriages to make sure they were consummating their nuptials.

Phneu Yav, 67, who was a Buddhist monk before the outbreak of civil war in 1970, echoed recent testimony from others in claiming that militia were stationed below the homes of newly married couples to ensure that they were having sex.

“After marriage, the unit chief sent the “chhlop” to listen to them at night,” said Mr. Yav, referring to the regime’s young spies.

“They wanted to know whether they consummated their marriage and if they didn’t do that, they were called and reprimanded for education. Any couples that got along and consummated the marriage were fine and could go back to work as usual,” he added.

The witness, who was assigned with teaching children the alphabet during the Pol Pot era, also spoke of his emotional distress seeing pagodas being turned into fertilizer warehouses and statues of the Buddha thrown into ponds as the regime attempted to eradicate religion.

“My feeling was that I felt sorry for Buddhism and for the Buddha statue, but what could I do? That’s what the country was turning into and we all just kept silent according to the instructions of the unit chief,” he said.

Testimony in Case 002 continues on Wednesday.

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