S-21 Photographer Called To Testify to ECCC

The chief Khmer Rouge photographer at Tuol Sleng prison, Nhem Ein, said Monday that he has been summoned to testify as a witness before the Extraordinary Chamb­ers in the Courts of Cambodia.

Nhem Ein, whose old boss Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, is currently facing charges of crimes against humanity at the ECCC, said he received a summons dated Oct 16 from the court’s co-investigating judges ordering him to appear the morning of Nov 1.

Nhem Ein said he would testify and vowed to tell the truth, but complained that the court isn’t paying him enough. The ECCC has a set fee of $5 a day to compensate witnesses for lost wages.

“I am one of the special witnesses for the Khmer Rouge trial,” he said, adding: “Judges, prosecutors, police and staff are paid thousands of dollars. But for me, as a Khmer witness, I am paid only $5,” he grumbled.

Nhem Ein said he declined the court’s offer to pick him up from his Anlong Veng district home, saying he’d rather take a taxi and some cash from the court to cover the cost of the 500 km journey.

He also took issue with the fact that the court can ask judicial police to compel unwilling witnesses to appear. “I want the court to be polite,” he said.

Nhem Ein was one of six photographers who took pictures of each of the 14,000 or so people tortured at S-21 before being sent to their deaths. Journalist Nic Dunlop has said Nhem Ein tried to charge him $300 for an hour-long interview.

Him Huy, 52, former security chief for S-21 said he too had been summoned by the ECCC’s co-in­vestigating judges. “I will answer what I can remember, but I won’t bring any documents with me because I have no documents,” he said.

Painter and S-21 survivor Vann Nath said Monday that he had not yet been summoned, though he added that he would testify if called.

ECCC Public Affairs Officer Reach Sambath said he could not confirm or deny the identity of witnesses. “We can’t reveal the names of witnesses,” he said, adding that “many” summonses had been issued since prosecutors began their work last July.

 

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