Journo to testify at KRT

By: Shaun Turton

Journalist Thet Sambath will be called to testify at the Khmer Rouge tribunal as a priority witness in Case 002/02, it was announced this week.

Sambath, who spent 10 years interviewing Nuon Chea for his film Enemies of the People, was requested as a witness by the Office of Co-Prosecutors in January, following a news report quoting the filmmaker saying he wanted to testify.

Although noting his evidence was most relevant to topics covered later in the case, the chamber in its decision on May 7 deemed it “prudent” to hear Sambath earlier if possible and ordered the Witness and Expert Support Unit to report to the chamber by May 21 on his availability.

Sambath, a former Post reporter, had previously refused to testify in Case 002/001 after being requested by both the prosecution and Nuon Chea’s defence team.

In its request, the prosecution submitted that Sambath had documented in his film and book several admissions by Chea that prove his criminal responsibilities for the crimes within the scope of Case 002/02.

Chea’s defence team – which has also requested that Sambath testify as part of their appeal against the verdict in Case 002/01 – agreed with the prosecution’s request, but asked that Rob Lemkin, the co-producer of Enemies of the People, also be summoned to appear in conjunction with Sambath, who currently lives in the United States.

The trial chamber reserved its decision on Lemkin’s testimony, noting the Supreme Court Chamber had not scheduled a date for hearing the 002/01 appeal.