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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interview with Khieu Samphan After Ieng Sary's Arrest

13th November 2007
Translated from Khmer by Khmerization

Heng Reaksmey(HR): Hello Mr. Khieu Samphan.

Khieu Samphan: Hello, thank you.

HR: Mr. Khieu Samphan, in relations to the fast forward developments of the Khmer Rouge (KR) Tribunal in the last few weeks, do you anticipate that the KR Tribunal will summon you to appear in the near future?

Samphan: In relation to this I did not receive any news. I did not know or hear anything about that, but I heard people said many different things. And especially I have seen a broadcast on CTN TV last night which said that amongst the five KR suspects four have already been arrested. Only one suspect is still free and should be arrested soon. In the broadcast they mentioned my name clearly. I do not feel bad. If the tribunal wants to summon me any time I will go willingly. They do not need to arrest me. They just summon me and I will go. On the other hand, I have already chosen my lawyers. But most importantly, I have my own reasons. For example, the reason why I agreed to be the President of the Presidium of Democratic Kampuchea after Prince Sihanouk resigned in April 1976. So I have my own reasons. Other than that I can give you some more examples if you allow me to say it here.

HR: Please go on.

Samphan: O.K. First I'd like to say that I have my own reasons. I want to say it here so that the public will know and the tribunal can also consider before hand before they proceed with my case. First, why did I agreed to be the President of the Presidium of Democratic Kampuchea? Because at that time I thought that I was not only representing the KR regime, but also representing my whole nation which wanted to be independent and sovereign from America and Vietnam who has the ambition to force Cambodia to join their Indochinese Federation. This was one of the most important reasons that I wanted to tell you. Secondly, I would like to say that there were three people in charge of the Presidium (Permanent Executive Committee). But we never met and we did not have any office in which to work in.

HR: Mr. Khieu Samphan, you said that there were three people who were in charge of the Presidium. Can you tell me right now who those people were?

Samphan: If you want me to say their names I can tell you right now. First, I was the president. Second, Mr. So Phim was the first vice-president. Mr. So Phim was also the secretary (governor) of the Eastern Zone. And third was Mr. Ros Nhim, alias Moul Sambath, who was the second vice-president and he was also the secretary (governor) of the Northwestern Zone. There were three presidents of the Presidium but we never convened any meetings. And we did not have any office or any departments to control. If you want to know more you can ask any surviving members of the KR regime. So this has confirmed that I did not have any powers. My position was only ceremonial, only a symbol or a representation of our nation, including the KR regime, representing our nation that wanted to be independent and sovereign like I have told you earlier.

HR: Thank you, Mr. Khieu Samphan. Up until today, are you scared about the prospect of you facing the tribunal?

Samphan: I did not have anything to fear, like I told you earlier. I have never done anything wrong toward me nation and my people. I never sold my nation. Even one cent I have never stolen from my nation. The only thing that I will do is to tell all about what I have done from 1975 to 1979. I have just told you about the structure of the presidium. I even can tell you one more thing that some people said that they cannot believe that I did not know what had happened during the KR regime. I read in the newspapers that many people cannot believe why a head of state did not know anything. This is what I wanted to tell you also.

HR: Go ahead.

Samphan: Because in the KR regime they have their own rules. During the Democratic Kampuchea regime, those who were evacuated from Phnom Penh knew about those rules. Their rules stated that people only need to know about their own jobs and roles. You don't need to know about other people's jobs. The rules at that time were very clear. People at every level must observe those rules. It doesn't mean that because you are a head of state you don't need to observe those rules? Those rules also applied to me, so I never wanted to know about other people's jobs and other people were too scared to tell me about anything. And I only stayed in one place and never traveled anywhere so I knew nothing about what had happened. This is what I wanted to tell you.

(To be continued on part 2, 3 and 4...)
This is the first part of a 4-part interviews with Khieu Samphan (pictured) conducted by Mr. Heng Reaksmey of Voice of America Khmer Program following the arrests of Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith on Monday, 12th November 2007.

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