The Khmer Rouge tribunal heard further testimony Monday related to the Trapeang Thma Dam worksite, but the witness’ experience as a company chief supervising workers were hindered by his ailing memory, raising a series of contradictions throughout his questioning.
Rice farmer Chhuy Huy told the court that he supervised 55 workers as a company chief at the dam site in Banteay Meanchey province, part of what was then the Northwestern Zone.
In contrast with last week’s witnesses, who said workers who failed to meet daily quotas would be tortured or killed, Mr. Huy said punishment was limited to half-rations of food.
Mr. Huy also told the court that he and his current wife were wed in an arranged marriage during the regime. On Thursday, witness Yi Laisov—who also suffered memory lapses—described her own arranged marriage as a harrowing ordeal between unwilling partners.
Mr. Huy’s testimony was mostly characterized, however, by forgetfulness. Contradictions in his testimony piled up from the start, requiring co-prosecutors and defense counsels to reformulate and simplify questions.
Asked at the opening of proceedings if he had reviewed or revisited the written testimony he had given to investigators, he answered that he had.
“I have read it but I have forgotten most of it,” he said.
Mr. Huy said he left the monkhood as a young man when he fled the Khmer Rouge, which had burned down his village, but added a moment later that he did not in fact know who had burned the village down, just that it occurred after “the outbreak of war.”
Arthur Vercken, defense counsel for Khieu Samphan, pressed the witness for changing his testimony regarding the shooting death of a former Civil Aviation employee.
“Everyone noticed today that there is a difference between what you said today about the man who was shot, and what you said [before],” he said, referring to a statement Mr. Huy gave in 2011 saying that he had seen the incident.
“This does not correspond with the written record of your memories, so we would like to know why you signed [the statement],” he said, but the witness did not understand his point.