Mr CHHUN Samorn
Mr Chhun Samorn was born in 1957 in Thmei village, Ksetr commune, Kampong Rou district, Svay Rieng province, where he still lives with his family and works as a rice farmer.
He testified as a Civil Party in Case 002/02. Mr Chhun became a Khmer Rouge soldier in May 1975, and worked as a messenger in unit 75. He delivered information about enemy positions to other units. He also attended meetings on the subject. In 1976, he was sent to sector 23 and worked in the Special Unit, in charge of gathering intelligence and sometimes of planting mines. Meetings about internal matters were organized. His unit was sent to areas close to the Vietnamese border, in Svay Rieng province, where he said the fighting was fierce in 1976 and 1977, in order to collect information. Sometimes, his unit had to fight the Vietnamese Special Unit. Mr Chhun stated that the work of the Special Unit was harder than other units’. According to Mr Chhun, the fighting intensified in 1977 and soldiers from the Central and the Southwest zones were sent in as reinforcements. At the end of 1977, East zone commanders were sent to training sessions and disappeared. The units were split by Central zone soldiers between the soldiers who had joined the revolution before and after 1975. Weapons were confiscated. Soldiers who had joined before 1975, about 300, were boarded on trucks and were sent to Veal Taprunh. The few others, including Mr Chhun, were integrated into Division 703 and asked to show landmines locations. They were then sent to the same place instead of to the Center. They were all instructed to work in rice fields and to dig holes. In 1978, Mr Chhun heard that East zone soldiers attempted a coup in the Center. Mr Chhun and his coworkers were instructed to go back to their families and villages. In Mr Chhun’s village, soldiers from the Center replaced the cooperative chiefs and told his unit that they would be reenlisted after the purge. However, the witness explained that a few days after their arrival, they tied them up, called them traitors and walked them to be executed. Mr Chhun heard from someone that they were not the first group of soldiers to be sent away. At the execution site, the soldiers who were tied up were shot, but some managed to untie themselves and to flee. Mr Chhun managed to flee with two other soldiers and jumped into a river, then crossed the Vietnamese border. They were rescued by Vietnamese soldiers. The Vietnamese asked them questions and let them join their army in order to liberate Cambodia. The witness recognized a few names of cadres from his unit who were sent for study sessions and are on the S-21 OCIJ prisoners list.
After his testimony, Mr Chhun asked for justice for his family and asked the accused two questions: why they divided the soldiers between those who joined the revolution before and after 1975, and why they arrested many East zone soldiers without justice. The accused used their 10 Hearings in Case 002/02 right to remain silent.