Khmer Rouge

Tribunal Defense Continue To Push on Current Ministers’ Roles in Khmer Rouge

The testimony is the latest in a line of witnesses who have named the two ministers as former Khmer Rouge cadre.

Foreign Ministers, Hor Namhong, right, of Cambodia, and Kasit Piromya, left, of Thailand, shake hands before a meeting in the Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh, file photo. Foreign Ministers, Hor Namhong, right, of Cambodia, and Kasit Piromya, left, of Thailand, shake hands before a meeting in the Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh, file photo.
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Foreign Ministers, Hor Namhong, right, of Cambodia, and Kasit Piromya, left, of Thailand, shake hands before a meeting in the Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh, file photo.
Foreign Ministers, Hor Namhong, right, of Cambodia, and Kasit Piromya, left, of Thailand, shake hands before a meeting in the Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh, file photo.
Kong SothanarithVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Khmer Rouge tribunal witness Suong Sikoeun told the UN-backed court on Wednesday that current government ministers Hor Namhong and Keat Chhon were both cadre of the regime, though they were “less powerful” than he was and less than the three former leaders currently on trial.

His testimony is the latest in a line of witnesses who have named the ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Finance, respectively, as Khmer Rouge cadre.

That testimony has been pushed by defense teams, who say the former Khmer Rouge leaders on trial—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary—are not getting fair trials because of governmental interference at the court.

Hor Namhong has strongly denied he was a member of the Khmer Rouge, claiming he was a prisoner of the Beoung Trabek detention center, not in charge of it. Most recently, he accused the tribunal defense attorneys of stirring up trouble by questioning court witnesses on his role in the regime. Hor Namhong, Keat Chhon and four other senior officials have meanwhile ignored summonses by the court to appear as witnesses.

On Wednesday, Suong Sikoeun became irritated under constant questioning from defense attorneys over the roles of the two ministers. “It gives me an earache, hearing over and over, ‘Keat Chhon, Hor Namhong, Keat Chhon, Hor Namhong,’” he said.

“Among all of the intellectuals returning from overseas there was only me who was appointed head of the section,” he said. “Therefore, both Keat Chhon and Hor Namhong had less power than me. I beg you, please stop troubling them.”
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US Seeking Stronger Ties as Cambodia’s Political Reforms Move Forward​i
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28 August 2014
A senior US diplomat says the country is looking to strengthen ties with Cambodia, now that the opposition has ended a boycott of the National Assembly. “We want to have a good relationship with the nation of Cambodia, the people of Cambodia,” Scot Marciel, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Bureau, told VOA Khmer in an exclusive interview. “We have an interest in a Cambodia that is successful, democratic, more prosperous, enjoying good health, and good education. Again, this is mostly up to the Cambodian people but we want to be supportive because it’s in our interest for Cambodia to be successful.” The US has made a recent diplomatic resurgence in Asia, where China’s influence continues to grow.​ Marciel, who is visiting the country, said Wednesday that Cambodia’s moves toward electoral reforms are encouraging. “I think what we’re looking to see, like the Cambodian people, the people here have made it clear that they would like to see some more reforms some progress on some of the challenges that the Cambodia faces, and we feel the same way,” he said. “We are hopeful that the government and the parliament as it is now seated can move ahead on some of the reforms that people here have called for. We think that would be a positive step.” (Sok Khemara, Washington)

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