Witness Tells KR Tribunal of Mass Cham Killings at Pagoda

A witness told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday that large numbers of Cham Muslims were executed at a notorious security center in Kompong Cham province, though claimed he never witnessed the killings himself.

Born in 1967, Muny Vanny was initially placed in a mobile unit before being assigned to work under “Horn,” chief of security in Kompong Cham’s Kang Meas district.

Muny Vanny testifies at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday. (ECCC)
Muny Vanny testifies at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday. (ECCC)

As part of his role, the witness— who was appearing in the trial’s current segment in which Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are facing charges of genocide against Cham Muslims—said he would accompany his superior to Wat Au Trakuon, a pagoda where as many as 30,000 people are thought to have been purged during the regime.

Mr. Vanny said Cham Muslims made up the “majority” of detainees at Wat Au Trakuon and that many arrived by boat.

“If they came by boat, [there were] 50 or 100 people at a time by boat…. I heard people say that there was a plan to gather Cham people,” he said.

Despite claiming that he never witnessed executions at the pagoda, Mr. Vanny told senior assistant prosecutor Vincent de Wilde that Cham Muslims were killed there, usually without being interrogated first.

“Did the Cham who arrived at the pagoda, were they all executed?” Mr. de Wilde asked. “Yes, this is true,” the witness replied.

The witness then backtracked on an earlier statement, in which he explained how he had visited execution and interrogation sites.

“I do not have anything else to add to my previous statement; I was not in a position to visit the location. What I noticed was that people were detained there for a few days and they disappeared, and when I asked people, I was told they were taken away and executed, but personally, I did not walk to that place,” Mr. Vanny said.

“I was a young boy and I was scared to go there and I was also afraid of ghosts.”

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