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Genocide in Cambodia

Genocide in Cambodia: Documents from the Trial of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 584
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  • Book Info
    Genocide in Cambodia
    Book Description:

    The Khmer Rouge held power in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and aggressively pursued a policy of radical social reform that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians through mass executions and physical privation. In January 1979, the government was overthrown by former Khmer Rouge functionaries, with substantial backing from the army of Vietnam. In August of that year a special court, the People's Revolutionary Tribunal, was constituted to try two of the Khmer Rouge government's most powerful leaders, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary. The charge against them was genocide as it was defined in the United Nation's genocide convention of 1948. At the time, both men were in the Cambodian jungle leading the Khmer Rouge in a struggle to regain power; they were, therefore, tried in absentia. Genocide in Cambodia assembles documents from this historic trial and contains extensive reports from the People's Revolutionary Tribunal. The book opens with essays that discuss the nature of the primary documents, and places the trial in its historical, legal, and political context. The documents are divided into three parts: those relating to the establishment of the tribunal; those used as evidence, including statements of witnesses, investigative reports of mass grave sites, expert opinions on the social and cultural impact of the actions of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary, and accounts from the foreign press; and finally the record of the trial, beginning with the prosecutor's indictment and ending with the concluding speeches by the attorneys for the defense and prosecution. The trial of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary was the world's first genocide trial based on United Nations's policy as well as the first trial of a head of government on a human rights-related charge. This documentary record is significant for the history of Cambodia, and it will be of the highest importance as well to the international legal and human rights communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0546-6
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Editors’ Note: The Documents of the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. A Personal View of the Documents of the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    Helen Jarvis

    One night in December 1990, I was on my second visit to post-Pol Pot Cambodia working to assist the reestablishment of the National Library of Cambodia. As dinner time approached I walked as usual from my rundown hotel out into the darkened streets, using a small flashlight to illuminate the potholes and open monsoon drains along the road to the grandly named Medical Faculty Restaurant, in truth nothing but a bare earth area with a battered roof and open sides, but cheerfully lit and serving a limited range of quite delicious fare.

    As usual, before long a young barefoot boy...

  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    John Quigley

    The trial of Pol Pot and leng Sary was held in August 1979 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In the government that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to early 1979, Pol Pot was prime minister, and leng Sary was deputy prime minister for foreign affairs. This government was generally referred to as the Khmer Rouge, “Khmer” for the majority ethnic group in Cambodia, and “Rouge,” the French word for “red,” because of the government’s leftist character. The Khmer Rouge was widely accused of atrocities against the population of Cambodia, in connection with its pursuit of a policy of radical communalization. The Khmer...

  6. Reflections of a Legal Anthropologist on the Trial of Pol Pot and leng Sary
    (pp. 19-28)
    Howard J. De Nike

    Anthropologically speaking, Cambodia was long a sort of ethnographic black hole. While directing a legal education program in Phnom Penh from April 1996 through July 1997, I seemed to meet more anthropologists whose Cambodian investigations in the late 1960s and early 1970s had been cut off by hostilities than those who had completed fieldwork then or later. French colonial archaeology and the investigations of May Ebihara were exceptional; and only recently, Judy Ledgerwood and Alex Hinton have entered the ethnographic terrain once again.¹ Accordingly, I readily accepted the opportunity to examine the record of the 1979 proceedings held in Phnom...

  7. Documents

    • List of Documents
      (pp. 31-42)
    • Part I Procedural documents
      (pp. 43-72)

      The People’s Revolutionary Council of Kampuchea,

      In light of the tasks of the People’s Revolutionary Council of Kampuchea as stated in the Declaration of January 8, 1979;

      Considering that the Pol Pot–Ieng Sary clique have massacred millions of persons, forced the entire Kampuchean people to live in genocidal conditions, physically and morally, destroyed all economic, cultural, and social structures, thus bringing them the danger of extermination;

      Considering that point 8 of the Declaration of December 2, 1978, of the National United Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea expressed the people’s wish that “all reactionary ringleaders, who stubbornly oppose the...

    • Part II. Documents of the Investigation

      • Witness Statements
        (pp. 75-143)

        The bitterest period in my life came after the Pol Pot–Ieng Sary clique of traitors seized power in Kampuchea.

        I am Ung Pech, formerly a heavy construction machine engineer at the Building Service of the Ministry of Public Works in Phnom Penh and a specialist in the use of a machine to prepare a new type of asphalt called “bituminous asphalt,” the product of which can be seen on the Phnom Penh — Kompong Som highway. In 1973, I decided to give up the job at the Ministry of Public Works and began to work for a private company which...

      • Religious Issues
        (pp. 144-155)

        For many centuries the Kampuchean people have followed Buddhism. Generation after generation, Kampucheans have found refuge and inspiration under the roofs of our pagodas. Furthermore, the pagodas are the places where the Kampucheans have received their cultural and religious education in the spirit of Cakya Muni’s teachings aimed at making civilized men with proper manners and respect for the canons of Buddhist morals. However, on April 17, 1975, the government fell into the hands of the traitorous and anti-religious Pol Pot–Ieng Sary clique. From that day, Buddhist clergy, as well as the Kampuchean people, were condemned to a life...

      • Military Issues
        (pp. 156-159)

        This evidence was recorded at the office of the First Brigade, responsible for the defense of Phnom Penh, on June 10, 1979, at 2:00 p.m., in the presence of Prum Chien, an official of the Ministry of the Interior; Ouk Chandara, clerk in charge of recording statements; and Nhek Houn, the declarant.

        Question: Your personal data, please.

        Answer: I am Nhek Houn, 33 years of age, from Romeas Hek district, Svay Rieng province. I was a deputy political commissar of the autonomous artillery unit, sector 21, of the army of Democratic Kampuchea, stationed in Kompong Cham province. My current position...

      • Issues of Ordinary Citizens
        (pp. 160-218)

        Today, June 26, 1979, at 2:00 p.m., we, Prum Chien, an official of the Ministry of the Interior, and Sang Nim, assistant secretary, interrogated one witness, who was also a victim, Ay Nasoeun, a female, as follows:

        Question: What, briefly, is your biography?

        Answer: My name is Ay Nasoeun, 25 years old, born in Pak Nam village, Maha Liep subdistrict, Koh Sotin district, Kompong Cham province. My profession is that of a weaver, but I was a farmer in the Khmer Rouge era. My educational level is 7th grade. I am of Khmer Nationality, a Buddhist.

        The condition of my...

      • Statements of Former Agents of Pol Pot and leng Sary
        (pp. 219-226)

        “My father is Men Phom, 58 years old. He lives in Thmey village, Chaong Maong subdistrict, Toek Phos district. He was a farmer. My mother is Sok Ho, 40 years old. She worked the fields with my father. My parents have five children: Men Khen, 30 years old, who used to farm but was killed by the Lon Nol clique; Men Hoeun, 21 years old, Men Khen’s sister, who died of an illness; Men Khol, 19 years old, who now works the fields with my parents; Men Kheam, 17 years old, who also works with my parents; and I. My...

      • Reports of Field Investigations
        (pp. 227-286)

        This statement was recorded June 19, 1979, at 3:30 p.m., at the office of the crocodile cultivation center, in Siem Reap city, in the presence of Mr. Saes Chhon, official of the Ministry of the Interior; Mr. San Kiri, secretary responsible for recording statements; and Mr. Mit Narin. The content of the statement follows.

        Question: Your name, your age and place of work, please?

        Answer: I am Mit Narin, 23 years of age, from Sapien Thmey village, Siem Reap 1 subdistrict, Siem Reap district, Siem Reap province. I currently raise crocodiles in the cultivation pool of the Siem Reap zoo....

      • Reports on Various Aspects of Social Life
        (pp. 287-378)

        Prior to April 17, 1975, the people of Phnom Penh lived through a number of unstable political regimes. The population of this administrative, economic, and intellectual capital city in the period between 1970 and 1975 grew from 2.4 to 2.8 million inhabitants. This demographic growth stemmed from the massive exodus of rural dwellers in the last three years of the Lon Nol regime, an effect of the neo-colonial war, conducted by the Americans and their henchmen. This unpopular war, which only served the cause of one faction and foreign interests, gave rise, among all social sectors, to an earnest aspiration...

      • Excerpts from Captured Documents
        (pp. 379-412)

        The character of our revolution is basically distinct in several respects from that of revolutions in other countries.

        . . . The expulsion of the population from Phnom Penh is a measure that one does not find in the revolution of any other country. This is an extraordinary measure aimed at the total overthrow of the feudal system and the capitalist system.

        In dispersing the city population to the countryside, we deal a decisive blow to the old order, and we transform all the towns of the country into worker towns. This is better than ever.

        The Crime of Genocide...

      • Excerpts from Published Accounts
        (pp. 413-460)

        The document on arms supply to the Pol Pot clique by China that I saw this trip in Phnom Penh is printed in Chinese characters. This document of thirty-eight pages, including the cover, bears on the cover this inscription: Act regulating military equipment furnished gratis by China to Kampuchea from 1976 to 1979. It is the list of arms furnished gratis by China to “Democratic Kampuchea” (the Pol Pot–Ieng Sary administration) in the years 1976, 1977, and 1978.

        Along with this document are papers on the delivery and receipt of arms furnished that bear the signatures of the highest...

    • Part III. Indictment and Judgment

      • Indictment
        (pp. 463-488)

        The prosecutor of the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal at Phnom Penh,

        On the basis of Decree Law No. 1 of July 15, 1979, of the People’s Revolutionary Council of Kampuchea, establishing at Phnom Penh a People’s Revolutionary Tribunal to try Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, and associates on accusations of genocide,

        On the basis of Article 4 of the indicated Decree Law on the tasks and powers of the prosecutor,

        On the basis of point 8 of the eleven-point declaration of December 2, 1978, of the National United Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea,

        On the basis of Decision No. 2 of...

      • Closing Statements
        (pp. 489-522)

        Mr. Chairman, and Messrs. the People’s Assessors, the Kampuchean people have just come out of a most terrible nightmare. Unfortunately, this nightmare is a fact. It lasted nearly four years. Although it was less than four years, under the bloody rule of the Pol Pot and Ieng Sary, more than three million of our compatriots died an extremely tragic death.

        Almost all the surviving Kampucheans have come back from the world of the dead. In face of the odious crimes of the Pol Pot–Ieng Sary clique, the conscience of mankind rose up. The Kampuchean people rose up. They themselves...

      • Judgment
        (pp. 523-552)

        The People’s Revolutionary Tribunal, created by Decree Law No. 1 of July 15, 1979, of the People’s Revolutionary Council of Kampuchea, has held its public sittings in the capital city of Phnom Penh from August 15 to 19, 1979. It is composed of:

        Mr. Keo Chanda President of the Tribunal and Chairman of the jury

        Mr. Chhour Leang Huot People’s Assessor

        Mr. Pen Navuth People’s Assessor

        Mrs. Chea Samy People’s Assessor

        Mr. Meas Savatha People’s Assessor

        Mr. Nouth Savoeun People’s Assessor

        Mr. Nouch Than People’s Assessor

        Mrs. Chhouk Chhim People’s Assessor

        Mr. KimKun People’s Assessor

        Mr. Kim Kaneth People’s Assessor...

  8. Sources for Additional Information
    (pp. 553-554)
  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 555-556)
  10. Index
    (pp. 557-559)