Tribunal Hears of Soldiers Spying on Forced Newlyweds

The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday continued hearing testimony on the forced consummation of marriages under the Pol Pot regime, with a former soldier explaining that newlywed combatants would be monitored to ensure they were having sex.

Testifying for a second day, Sun Vuth, a former messenger for Division 920 chief Ta Chhin in Mondolkiri province, recounted a forced marriage ceremony involving seven couples and subsequent surveillance by the Khmer Rouge—a narrative that has been a recurrent theme in the second phase of Case 002.

“Those married couples were allowed to live in a row of small huts and they would be subject to monitoring of their consummation,” Mr. Vuth said.

“If they didn’t consummate the marriage, then a report would be made to the upper level that they disobeyed the instruction of Angkar,” he said.

Asked by Judge Jean-Marc Lavergne what fate lay ahead for those accused of not consummating their marriages—and therefore betraying the regime—Mr. Vuth said they would be called to self-criticism meetings, but were spared death.

“For the minor offense, the person would not be killed. They were simply called to a meeting, what we call the self-criticism meeting. During that meeting people would criticize the persons to correct the…behavior to follow the paths of the Angkar,” he said, referring to the leadership of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

Mr. Vuth concluded his testimony by questioning the case’s two defendants, senior Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, regarding the deaths of his family, who had links with the former Lon Nol regime.

“I’d like to have explanations from the accused on the reasons for their death. I don’t want to accuse them, but I want to know the real truth why innocent people like my parents, who did nothing wrong, were killed? I want responses from the accused…so I may feel relief,” Mr. Vuth asked.

The defendants exercised their right to remain silent.

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