Ieng Sary, minister of foreign affairs during the Khmer Rouge regime, traveled to Thailand last week for heart treatment, said his son, Pailin’s first deputy governor.
Ieng Vuth said Monday his father, 75, usually visits a Bangkok doctor every six months for examinations, but worrying heart pains caused him to rush back to Thailand last Tuesday.
Without giving details, Ieng Vuth said his father had heart surgery in 1994 and 1998, was recuperating and would return to Cambodia soon.
Ieng Vuth stressed that his father’s absence had nothing to do with reports that the Appeals Court had ordered arrest warrants for two other senior Khmer Rouge officials, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
On Sunday, Battambang and Siem Reap provincial court officials confirmed the order was issued in April, but said they refused to issue the arrest warrants.
Ieng Vuth confirmed reports that numerous lower-ranking former rebel officials had gone to Thailand in recent days, but he said they “only went for holiday.”
He also blamed foreign nations supporting a UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal for trying to create unrest in Cambodia.“Currently, we have peace, and we live together, but the foreigner wants to break us,” Ieng Vuth said.
Mei Makk, Pailin’s Municipal Cabinet chief, said Monday that numerous ex-Khmer Rouge have left for Thailand, but added there was nothing unusual in that. “Thailand is just like a second home for many former Khmer Rouge,” he said.
Som Chan Chea, who works for the rights group Adhoc in Pailin, agreed that the reports of warrants had caused little concern among locals. “People hear heard about the warrants, but they don’t care,” he said.
He said Adhoc officials met with Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at their homes on Monday.