One of the few known survivors of the notorious Kraing Ta Chan prison completed his testimony at the Khmer Rouge tribunal Wednesday, denies claims made by several ex-guards at the Tram Kak security center that he had lied about their involvement in heinous crimes at the site.
Soy Sen, who was due to continue addressing the tribunal in a closed session due to fears over openly discussing former cadre, first told the court he had decided to present his evidence publicly as his story had already been made public.
The civil party—who has given damning testimony implicating numerous ex-guards in crimes including rape, cannibalism and murder—rebutted guards’ responses that he was lying.
“For all those named individuals, they were absolute; they did what they wanted and their behavior in the current regime is so different from how they behaved during that regime,” Mr. Sen said .
He also claimed that testimony from guards known as Saing, Duch and Soun—who claimed they had no role in executions— was false.
“The statements of those individuals are not true; they were the ones who arrested and killed…. After they received orders from chief of the security office they were the ones who arrested and executed prisoners,” he said.
Mr. Sen—who told the court how prison chief Ta An would instruct him to cover up mass graves as bloated bodies resurfaced—said that he no longer felt animosity toward the guards, despite saying in a 2004 interview with the Documentation Center of Cambodia that he wanted “to take an axe and kill all those guys.”
“At that time there was no law in this regard and now we have a proper legal system with a proper court so my view is different,” he said.
The civil party, who lives near the prison site in Takeo province’s Kus commune, used his final statement to declare he testified for “all the lost souls” who had perished during the regime and lamented how so many people died when there was “plenty of food.”
Saut Saing—who Mr. Sen labeled one of the “cruelest” guards, saying he once smashed a baby to death with a club—also completed his testimony Wednesday and denied that he had pleaded with the ex-prisoner to refer to him as a victim during a chance meeting in February, as Mr. Sen claims.
“I never asked him about that, I never chatted with him. I…have never met him [since 1979] and had a conversation with him. However, our houses are close to each other,” Mr. Saing said.
Hearings in Case 002/02—the second phase of the trial of Pol Pot’s former deputy Nuon Chea and the regime’s head of state Khieu Samphan—continue Thursday.