Witness Says Khmer Rouge Forced Her to Have Abortion

A former Khmer Rouge ministry official told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday that she was forced to have an abortion after her husband was purged from the party.

Boeth Boeun was testifying in a segment focusing on the roles of the accused—the Khmer Rouge’s second-in-command Nuon Chea and head of state Khieu Samphan—in the crimes committed during the Democratic Kampuchea era.

Joining the revolution in 1971 in opposition to the U.S.-backed Lon Nol regime, Ms. Boeun held numerous positions before eventually landing a role as a unit chief at the Ministry of Commerce.

During her time with the Khmer Rouge, Ms. Boeun attended study sessions organized by leaders Pol Pot, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in which warnings would be given about the dangers of enemies within party ranks, Ms. Boeun said.

“He did not say who the enemies were. However, he said that sometimes the enemies were our parents or our relatives and did we dare to smash those enemies if our parents were the enemies?” she said, not identifying the specific speaker. She added that she was unsure about the definition of “smash.”

Ms. Boeun told of getting married in 1977, but in contrast to many witnesses who have given accounts of unhappy forced marriages during the Pol Pot regime, she said she was fond of her husband.

But he fell out of favor with the regime and was swept up in a purge, she said.

In a story rarely recounted at the court, Ms. Boeun said she was forced to have an abortion soon after her husband’s arrest.

“After I got married and after my husband was arrested and taken away, I lost my period for five days. Later on, after my husband had been arrested, Comrade Tha told me that I had to get rid of my fetus,” she said.

“Then they arranged a medic for that. I was injected with some medicine then the fetus was destroyed,” she said. “I was told that Angkar required me to abort that fetus.”

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