ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It Is the One Thing Missed That Was the Only Thing Interesting

Much of last week was spent on the testimony of a very insignificant witness, Nou Mao. The witness was clearly senile and apart from that did not know anything of probative value on the subject of whether Khieu Samphan was in favor of the evacuation of Phnom Penh and whether his position pitted him against Hou Youn or Hu Nim or both (which is presumably why he was called to testify). Nuo Mao’s rank placed him way too low on the totem pole to be privy to any high-level discussions on the subject, he never met either Khieu Samphan or Hu Nim and his only interaction with Hou Youn was watching him teach a class from the rafters. Nuo Mao is basically someone who saw the procession traveling at 100 mph from the side of the road. Not much to testify to. But the trial court still managed to burn down two days on this witness.


The one seemingly interesting thing that came out of this witness’ testimony and which gained no traction with the court at all was his opinion as to the reason for what the trial court terms “second wave of evacuation” and “third wave of evacuation,” or whatever the numbers are. I will call them ‘subsequent evacuations’ here. When asked by the prosecution whether after having been evacuated from Phnom Penh, the evacuees were moved away from the locations to which they had been initially evacuated, Nou Mao said this had been the case in his location. Unprovoked, he offered further details. The most interesting of these details was that it was not only the new people who were subject to subsequent evacuations but also the base people. When asked why he believed those evacuations were ordered, he answered that one of the reasons for them was so that people would not discriminate against one another, i.e. presumably, so that base people would not discriminate against the new people. The prosecution, of course, shied away from probing further into that statement for the obvious reason of it not working for its theory but the defense simply dropped the ball by no exploring it at all and instead spending on the excruciating detail of just about everything else (of which the only thing that was of any consequence at all was the Noun Chea team’s line of questioning regarding the 100 Lon Nol soldiers). It is, of course, possible that the witness was extrapolating – or whatever else he was doing – in the same manner he extrapolated Khieu Samphan’s and Hou Youn’s divergent positions on the evacuation of Phnom Pehn from some out-of-context statements and rumors but it is also possible that his statement could have been a springboard to something else. It is very curious given that CPK’s intent to avoid discrimination in the cooperatives was part of a statement made by Noun Chea some two months ago. We will now never find out whether the two could have been connected to establish a fact. A great opportunity missed by the defense.


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