Lone Protester Spends Day at Freedom Park

A Khmer Rouge survivor participating as a civil party at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) staged a one-man protest Monday against the August conviction of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan for crimes against humanity.

The protester, Roeurn Kosal, 44, sat alone in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to register his objection to the court’s failure to prosecute the Viet Cong and Vietnamese government leaders, whom he said were responsible for the worst depredations of the Khmer Rouge era.

Roeurn Kosal stands in Freedom Park in Phnom Penh on Monday during his one-man protest against the guilty verdict handed down in August by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia against Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Roeurn Kosal stands in Freedom Park in Phnom Penh on Monday during his one-man protest against the guilty verdict handed down in August by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia against Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“The genuine story is [our] territory was invaded, Cambodian people’s property was robbed and there were mass killings due to Hanoi forcing Cambodian people to be under the legal authority of Indochina,” he said, adding that the defendants on trial at the ECCC today are scapegoats.

“Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, they are just plastic killers, and the people who committed the crimes are Viet Cong army [members],” said Mr. Kosal, who came to the park equipped with an umbrella, a water bottle and cardboard placards outlining his demands in English and Khmer.

Mr. Kosal said he plans to march today from Freedom Park to the ECCC, more than 12 km away, to deliver a petition to the court presenting “hundreds of pages of evidence” against the Vietnamese, which he says he compiled over 20 years of research.

In the first phase of his crimes-against-humanity trial, Nuon Chea testified at length about his belief that Vietnamese interference in Cambodia destabilized the Khmer Rouge government, leading to mass killings, chaos and civil war.

Nuon Chea is now boycotting the second phase of his trial, which began on October 17, accusing judges of bias, partly because they neglected to mention these supposed Vietnamese crimes in their judgment against him.

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