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Mass Arrests Took Place Under Ieng Sary: Witness

"Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea (4th L) and former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary (2nd R) sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh , file photo.

Saloth Ban, the nephew of Pol Pot, told the Khmer Rouge tribunal Wednesday there had been mass arrests inside the foreign ministry of Ieng Sary, claiming cadre had been urged to seek out “internal enemies” of the regime.

Saloth Ban has been on the stand all week at the UN-backed court describing inner workings of the regime, especially under Ieng Sary’s foreign ministry.

“We had to find the enemies,” he said. “And those enemies were firstly internal enemies. If we found our [internal] enemies, we could find our external enemies.”

He also told the court Wednesday that Ieng Sary had called intellectuals from abroad to return, only to detain them at the Boeung Trabek facility in Phnom Penh.

“When I went there I found there were high intellectuals,” Saloth Ban told the court. “They were professors who taught professors, and they were brought there, and I felt this was not right.”

Ieng Sary is on trial for atrocity crimes committed by Khmer Rouge cadre under his leadership, along with two more jailed leaders, Nuon Chea, the regime’s ideologue, and Khieu Samphan, its nominal head of state.

Prosecutors in recent weeks have called a string of witnesses who have described the inner workings of the regime’s administration, including a courier for Nuon Chea and Duch, the head of Tuol Sleng, the Khmer Rouge’s most notorious prison.