Third Witness Testifies to Slaughter of Vietnamese

A third witness at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday testified about the slaughter of ethnic Vietnamese people at a pagoda in Siem Reap province during the regime’s rule.

Y Vun, 79, who worked as a traditional healer and in rice paddies in Siem Reap’s Chi Kreng district during the Pol Pot era, said ethnic Vietnamese—including a young woman named Chantha—were killed at Wat Khsach.

After noticing 10 to 20 people being held at the pagoda the day before the executions, Mr. Vun said, he later overheard screams while inside his home nearby.

“I heard the voices from the pagoda. I was very scared. I came down to the ground…. I stayed close to the coconut tree and tried to listen to the sounds,” Mr. Vun said. “I heard the cries and I thought it was the execution because the cries were so loud…. I stayed to listen to the cries until there were no more voices.”

“All of them were killed, including the children,” he said, adding that only an ethnic Chinese woman and her son were spared.

Mr. Vun is the third person to testify about the alleged massacre at Wat Khsach in the current segment of the second phase of Case 002, in which Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are facing charges of genocide against ethnic Vietnamese. The previous witnesses, Sien Sung and Oum Son, both claimed to have seen victims being disemboweled, including the woman Chantha.

Asked about Chantha, the witness corroborated their testimony, saying she perished at the pagoda and that her grandparents were killed at a site in nearby Chork village.

Mr. Vun said he walked through the pagoda grounds while searching for a stray cow about three days later and saw corpses heaped in pits.

“I saw clothes spread around the area, and the people in the pagoda had disappeared,” he said, adding that he also saw a bamboo club covered in blood. “I saw the pit where the corpses were buried.”

“I went there only once and never went there again.”

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