Nuon Chea Claims to Have Found Key Khmer Rouge Witness

Nuon Chea’s legal team says it has discovered a never-before-interviewed witness who claims to have been a powerful deputy of Ruos Nhim, the secretary of the Northwest Zone of Democratic Kampuchea who was purged in 1978.

The mystery witness, whose existence was revealed in a heavily redacted filing released by the court last week, apparently has key knowledge of the command structure of the Northwest Zone and its military, and has “patrons” in the current Cambodian government, the lawyers claim.

The witness, whose name was redacted in the filing, claims to have collected an arsenal of 20,000 weapons from Lon Nol soldiers starting in 1975, hid them in a warehouse and used them to lead a band of 2,000 soldiers in an uprising against the Khmer Rouge in 1978, uniting himself with other elements of the resistance fighting Pol Pot and Nuon Chea.

Nuon Chea’s lawyers are seeking to have this person summoned and interviewed as part of the appeals process.

Although they note that certain claims made by the mystery witness “beg important questions about the veracity of the sequence of events as he describes them” and may be “slightly exaggerated,” they add that the legal team “would have vigorously sought [redacted]’s testimony at trial had it known of his existence.”

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