Survivor Tells Tribunal of Im Chaem’s Cruelty

A civil party told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday that Case 004 suspect Im Chaem was “even crueler” than her predecessors upon her transfer to the Northwest Zone in 1978 and was responsible for the death of his parents.

Sen Sophorn, the first person in Case 002/02 to testify in relation to the Trapeang Thma Dam worksite in Banteay Meanchey province, told of how he was sent to the worksite in 1977 after being evacuated from Phnom Penh and made to work in a cooperative in Kandal province.

The civil party said people were overworked and lacked food at the dam. He described life deteriorating further in 1978 after Ta Val, who oversaw the worksite, was purged and replaced by “Yeay Chaem.”

“People in the mobile units said that Ta Val was taken away and killed, and they said that those from the Southwest Zone were good people and they came to replace the old cadre,” Mr. Sophorn said.

“After a period of time, Yeay Chaem was even crueler than others. What I know is that after Yeay Chaem came to replace the previous cadre, many people died. Before that, not so many people died when Ta Val was in charge,” he said.

Mr. Sophorn said he escaped the worksite after hearing that he was to be purged, only to be informed after trekking to his home village that his parents had been killed.

“It was father [who was] taken first to be killed, as he was a former solider, but then my mother said if my father was to be killed, there was no point in living,” he told the tribunal.

Mr. Sophorn said he placed the blame for the death of his parents on Im Chaem, who was charged with crimes against humanity in March along with the commander of the Khmer Rouge navy, Meas Muth.

“Yeay Chaem was the one who came to arrest Ta Val and [have] my parents…killed,” he said.

Also Monday, the Trial Chamber announced that next week’s proceedings would be adjourned to give legal teams the chance to examine recently disclosed documents relating to the dam from the Case 004 investigation.

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