Prosecutors seeking justice for the 1.7 million people who died under the rule of the Khmer Rouge have submitted rare video footage obtained from the Vietnamese government to be used as evidence against surviving leaders about to go on trial for crimes against humanity.
The evidence will throw the spotlight on Hanoi, which invaded Cambodia and ended Pol Pot’s devastating reign in January 1979.
Shortly after the Khmer Rouge fled to the countryside, where the wars continued for another 30 years, Vietnam also staged its own trial of Pol Pot and his chief lieutenant Ieng Sary.
Both were found guilty of genocide in absentia and sentenced to death.
In a statement issued by the tribunal prosecutors on Friday, they said the footage shows rare scenes from S-21.
About 16,000 people were held in the S-21 camp. They were chained, tortured and later dispatched to the Killing Fields on the outskirts of Phnom Penh where they were routinely bludgeoned to death after helping to dig their own graves.
According to prosecutors, “The images include scenes of the main gate of the S-21 central compound, overview scenes of the interior of the compound, and scenes of various types of cells and restraint devices within the S-21 central compound and decapitated corpses chained to beds in Building A of the compound among other things.”
It said the two films, the only ones known to exist depicting S-21 as it was discovered by Vietnamese troops, corroborated claims that conditions inside S-21 were inhumane. The footage was submitted as evidence after it was reviewed by investigator Craig Etcheson.
WPR has covered both Etcheson and the Vietnamese-orchestrated tribunal of 1979 previously.
The current trial is scheduled to officially start on Feb. 17.