Judge Calls A Halt To Ta Mok Investigation

Military court investigating judge Ngin Sam An said he has halted his two-year investigation of former Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok, choosing instead to wait for the expected creation of an international tribunal.

“I want to see what the new law says and who the Cambodian and foreign judges will be,” he said Thursday. “If I continue my investigation, it is possible that the foreign judges will not accept my work or not believe me. It makes  what I am doing useless.”

Ngin Sam An said he has found evidence linking Ta Mok to atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. More than one million Cambodians died of overwork, starvation, disease and execution between 1975 and 1979.

If he is not selected to work on the tribunal of former Khmer Rouge leaders, Ngin Sam An said he would turn over his documents to whoever takes over the Ta Mok case.

“I am not worried about my in­vestigation. I’m just worried that it wastes my time,” he said.

Benson Samay, the Phnom Penh lawyer representing Ta Mok, said he had not heard that Ngin Sam An had stopped his investigation. “We wait until they create a tribunal,” he said.

Benson Samay said he has been busy with other cases lately and hasn’t seen his client in several months.

Earlier this week, a report issued in Washington DC by a group of scholars cited evidence they said directly links Ta Mok and six other former top Khmer Rouge leaders to the massive number of atrocities that took place in Cambodia during the mid to late 1970s.

Ta Mok served as military chief of staff and Southwest Zone secretary during the Khmer Rouge regime. He was captured by government soldiers in March 1999 and has since been in prison await­ing trial.

The report states that Ta Mok directed and facilitated the arrests of subordinates of suspected traitors in the Southwest Zone, and failed to prevent or punish atrocities committed by those under his command.

It said he received copies of written confessions from Tuol Sleng prisoners. One document is marked as having been “sent to Brother Mok already, 12 Nov­ember 1977,” and talks of a peasant demonstration in the South­west Zone that was suppressed “by arresting the demonstrators and taking them off to be killed and disposed of.”

Legislation for the international tribunal of former Khmer Rouge leaders is scheduled for debate in the Senate on Monday.


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