KR Chieftain Ta Mok Insane, Lawyer Says

Imprisoned Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok has gone in­sane and “talks like a child,” according to his lawyer, Benson Samay, who saw his client three days ago.

“He laughs all the time, and he talks too much,” Benson Samay said. “He’s always making jokes. It’s not normal. I never ask him serious questions now.”

Ta Mok and Duch, who was head of the S-21 torture prison, are the only former Khmer Rouge leaders in custody for a Khmer Rouge tribunal. Both of them have been held for more than one year and could be held for a maximum of three years with­out a trial.

Although the Senate is now de­bating the draft law to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, Benson Samay, whose clients have in­cluded the ruling CPP, said he has not interviewed Ta Mok extensively yet.

Because it took so long for the draft law to reach the Nat­ional Assembly, and could still be a few years before a trial begins, Ben­son Samay said he is in no hurry to talk to his client in detail.

Benson Samay, who is representing Ta Mok for free, said he would also voluntarily represent for­mer Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, the nominal leader of the regime; Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge’s political ideologue; and Ieng Sary, the re­gime’s deputy premier, if they are brought to trial.

The colorful attorney said he knows how difficult it would be for the three to find a lawyer. He said he would represent them be­cause he has spent his life trying to find the truth behind the Khmer Rouge.

“I’m worried that it will not get done properly, that they will not get a fair trial,” Benson Samay said. “I want to know who is be­hind the Khmer Rouge and killed 2 million people.”

He reiterated his accusations against foreign countries and inter­national organizations that supported the Khmer Rouge, most importantly the US, the UN, China, France and Britain.

“I will call all over the world, all the foreign leaders, presi­dents

…and ask them why they sup­ported the Khmer Rouge until 1993,” Benson Samay said.

He said Ta Mok has been held too long without a trial and that no specific char­­ges have been filed against him.

Benson Samay repeated his past claims that Ta Mok, 75, is very sick and said his client will likely die before a tribunal begins. He said he has asked permission for Ta Mok to be taken to a hospital to receive a radiography.

“He can’t stand up,” Benson Samay said. “He has problems with his stomach, his heart. I be­lieve Ta Mok will die before the first day of the trial.”

Benson Samay, who works with a team of about 10 other lawyers, said he has documents weigh­ing 1 ton. In all of those papers, he said he has not seen one piece of evidence that show­ed Ta Mok or­dered people to be killed.

Benson Samay said he has not yet received any documents from the Documentation Center of Cam­bodia, which has compiled a massive archive of information on the Khmer Rouge regime.

Youk Chhang, who heads the center, said anyone, including Benson Samay, may do research at the center.

“He knows he could send his staff over to do research, but he hasn’t,” Youk Chhang said.

Benson Samay said he believes a Khmer Rouge trial would be fair, but he fears he may not have equal access to resources be­cause he is not charging Ta Mok, and he likely will not have funds to do research that is on par with the prosecution.

Benson Samay said it was unfair that UN Special Rep­re­sentative Peter Leuprecht was al­lowed to talk to his client when he visited Phnom Penh more than one month ago.

Benson Samay, who was not in Phnom Penh at the time, said Leuprecht should have talked to him, instead of his client.

“I would’ve told Ta Mok to hide in the bathroom,” Benson Samay said.

Even though he contended his client is insane, Benson Samay said he would have Ta Mok testify at a tribunal. “I want all my clients to talk to make the world understand,” he said.



Related Stories

Latest News