The walls of a pagoda near the January 1 Dam worksite were left stained in blood and the smell of decomposing corpses lingered in the air after it was used as a prison under Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge tribunal heard Thursday.
Oum Chy, a former cadre who oversaw a mobile unit of about 500 workers at the worksite in Kompong Thom province, said he attended meetings at the nearby Baray Choan Dek pagoda after it had been used as a security center.
“The security center was within the compound of the Baray Choan Dek pagoda,” he said. “I only heard that the place was used as a security center, I myself was afraid to go near.”
Mr. Chy told senior assistant prosecutor Vincent de Wilde that he entered the pagoda only after the security center had been relocated, and said the building bore signs of the brutality inflicted on prisoners.
“When I attended a meeting inside the dining hall, I actually saw bloodstain remains on the wall in the temple and the dining hall, and I also saw remnants of torn pieces of clothing scattered on the ground,” he said. “The bad odor was still lingering in the air when I was there.”
The witness told the court that officials had been on constant lookout for perceived “enemies” at the dam site, and that those identified as standing in the way of the revolution faced dire consequences.
“It was the sector committee and district committee who spoke about the notion of enemies during meetings,” Mr. Chy said. “Regarding the fate of those people, what I heard was that they would be smashed as they were interfering with the… construction.”
Asked to provide examples of people who were arrested, Mr. Chy described how five neighbors in his village disappeared.
“Anyone who had been arrested never appeared again,” he said.
Mr. Chy was the last witness to speak about the January 1 Dam worksite in the second phase of Case 002 at the tribunal.