Prosecution Wants Thet Sambath to Testify at Tribunal

Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have requested that the Trial Chamber call documentary filmmaker Thet Sambath as a priority witness in Case 002/02 “as soon as possible.”

The request follows an article published by Voice of America earlier this month in which Mr. Sambath, who spent 10 years interviewing Nuon Chea for his film “Enemies of the People,” was quoted as saying that he wants to testify “if the court openly gives me freedom.”

According to a submission to the court by the co-prosecutors, Mr. Sambath documented several admissions by Nuon Chea that “prove his criminal responsibility” for crimes accused in Case 002/02, but the former journalist has previously refused to testify.

“Thus despite the established personal relationship and Sambath’s acknowledged sympathy towards Nuon Chea, the Co-Prosecutors believe that his evidence will be highly probative and incriminatory,” reads the filing, dated Thursday and published on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia website Tuesday.

Victor Koppe, international co-lawyer for Nuon Chea, called this a “disclaimer from the prosecution” in the event that Mr. Sambath says something that helps exonerate his client.

Mr. Koppe added that the defense team, which requested that Mr. Sambath be called to give evidence late last year, supported the request.

“We agree that he is an important witness, both in the appeal and in Case 002, and we hope to prioritize him, but we think that the [other] filmmaker [Rob Lemkin] is important too,” he said.

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