Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Civil parties recount time at dam

Civil parties recount time at dam

Civil parties recount time at dam

Two more civil party witnesses testified before the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday relating their harrowing experiences at the Trapeang Thma dam worksite.

The morning session began with survivor Sam Sok recalling his evacuation from Phnom Penh and initial assignment to a children’s work unit.

“Many children became sick from swollen disease, from malaria, and some children started to die, one after another,” Sok said.

Singled out as “capitalists and feudalists”, Sok sid he was mistreated for being a “17 April person”, the term for evacuated city dwellers.

Unable find words that captured the full extent of his suffering at the dam, Sok said that, “to give you an idea”, he joked with workers that they would die happily “if they just gave us a good last meal”.

Forced to hide his family’s education and connection to the Lon Nol regime, Sok broke into tears as he enumerated lost loved ones.

They included the family of an uncle who was a Khmer Republic colonel, his uncle who was a minister, his mother and two elder brothers.

In addition to losing his family, Sok felt particular pain in being denied education.

“We didn’t have the chance to study at all, that is the most painful thing in my life,” he said prior to concluding.

Civil Party Mean Loeuy’s testimony followed during the afternoon session starting with his former life as a monk in Battambang.

When the Khmer Rouge took over “we were urged to leave the monkhood every day”, Loeuy said adding that eventually all the monks defrocked.

Loeuy later was forced to work at the dam worksite where quotes were harshly imposed. Failure to meet a quota would result in “self criticism” and “re-education” sessions, he said, adding that repeated failure would lead to disappearance.

Married in a mass ceremony along with 63 couples, Loeuy said that “the base people could not marry new [17 April] people”.

Loeuy’s wife and in-laws were eventually killed, a pain that “after 30 years I still have not forgotten”, he said.

Not imagining survival, Loeuy recalled: “Every morning I opened eyes I knew I had lived another day.”

Prior to adjournment, Loeuy requested that co-accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan be locked away for life in a dark prison.

Samphan defender Kong Sam Onn, however, noted,“Putting my client . . . in a dark dungeon is not according to existing law and procedure.”

Proceedings resume today with key document hearings.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused