Journalist Will Only Appear at ECCC If Foreign Leaders Will

Journalist Thet Sambath said on Saturday that he would not testify at the Khmer Rouge tribunal unless the court also called the leaders of China, Russia and Vietnam between 1975 and 1979 to appear, as well as former Khmer Rouge officials who defected to Vietnam during the regime.

Earlier this month, prosecutors formally requested that Mr. Sambath—a reporter who formed a close bond with Nuon Chea over ten years of interviews featured in his documentary “Enemies of the People”—appear before the court over admissions made by the regime’s former “Brother Number Two” in the film.

Reached by email, Mr. Sambath on Saturday said he would only give testimony if the court also summoned many others.

“Yes I will [appear] but I have condition that the trial must be more open by inviting all parties including former Khmer Rouge leaders who fled into Vietnam from 1975-79, Vietnamese, Russian and Chinese leaders to hearing,” Mr. Sambath said.

“When these people…stand at [the] hearing, I will do. I know about the law agreed between Cambodian government and U.N. stipulating it does not call leaders from [a] foreign country to trial. If the law is amended, I will [appear] because the current trial is not open. It just puts anyone who has no power on trial,” he said.

Mr. Sambath, a former reporter for The Cambodia Daily, declined to be more specific about exactly whom he wants to see testify at the court, saying their identities would be revealed in his second film, “Suspicious Minds.”

He added that the new film would provide evidence that “a number of current leaders in government” were more guilty than Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, and that he considered the tribunal a political tool to justify Vietnam’s 1979 invasion of Cambodia, which was led by a group of Khmer Rouge defectors that included prominent members of the current government.

“The ECCC is just a tool to make…[Prime Minister] Hun Sen, National Assembly [President] Heng Samrin, CPP’s president Chea Sim, Pol Saroeun, Uk Bunchhoeurn and many other CPP leaders and Vietnames[e] troops’ invasion to be legalized and to show the world they are right for asking Vietnames[e] soldiers to invade Cambodia and help them clear them from crimes from 1975-79,” he said.

Mr. Sambath now lives in the U.S. after fleeing Cambodia, claiming the government was trying to kill him due to the information he plans to reveal.

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.