By Leng Maly
Translated by Khmerization
According to records taken from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and according to documents from the Documentation Center of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan’s revolutionary name was Comrade Hem and his nickname were Ta Chhun or Ta Hong (Grandfather Chhun or Grandfather Hong).
Khieu Samphan was born to a Sino-Khmer family on the 27th of July 1931, in the Year of the Goat, in Rumchek commune of Rumduol district in Svay Rieng province, in the eastern part of Cambodia. Khieu Samphan’s father was Mr. Khieu Long and his mother’s name was Por Kong. Khieu Samphan has one brother named Mr. Khieu Seng Kim. Khieu Samphan was married to Mrs. So Socheat and they have 4 children.
Khieu Samphan has completed his studies in France, graduating with a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Paris in 1949. Upon his return to Cambodia, he taught at a private college called Chamroeun Vichea and established his own newspaper called “L’Observateur”, which mirrored the views and opinions of intellectuals, teachers and the majority of public servants who supported Prince Sihanouk’s policy of neutrality.
From 1962-1963, Mr. Khieu Samphan was appointed as Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce in the Sangkum Reastr Niyum government of Prince Sihanouk and was known as a clean politician.
In 1960, Mr. Khieu Samphan made an appeal for the liberation of Kampuchea Krom from Vietnam. In 1962, Mr. Khieu Samphan was elected to the parliament in a seat in Kandal province. And in 1966 he was again re-elected to the parliament.
After the Samlaut Uprising in 1967, Mr. Khieu Samphan was suspected to be behind that uprising and he was threatened with arrest and a court marshal. And on the 24th of April, Mr. Khieu Samphan, a long with Hou Youn and Hu Nim, was forced to flee Phnom Penh to seek refuge in a Khmer Rouge base in the jungle of Takeo province and then Kampong Speu.
In July 1971, Mr. Khieu Samphan was selected to chair a two-week long conference which was held at Pol Pot’s headquarter in the north of the country to debate whether to allow Prince Sihanouk to join the Resistance Movement or not. During the resistance period, as well as during the period of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, Mr. Khieu Samphan played a role as a liaison officer between Prince Sihanouk and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
In 1971, Khieu Samphan became a reserve member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and in 1976 he became a full member of the Central Committee. In 1974, Mr. Khieu Samphan supported mass evacuation out of Phnom Penh. On the 9th of October 1975, Mr. Khieu Samphan had participated in a meeting of the Permanent Committee to assign the committee members to specific jobs. And the meeting appointed him to be in charge of the Front and in charge of commerce and was tasked with price setting.
On the 8th of March 1976, Mr. Kheu Samphan had participated in a meeting of the Base Taskforce to discuss about a general election to be held on the 20th March 1976 and to discuss about the situations in districts 103 and 106 of the Northern Region. On the 30th of March 1976, the Communist Party’s Central Committee appointed Mr. Khieu Samphan as President of the Presidium of the Democratic Kampuchea regime.
In the middle of 1976, Mr. Khieu Samphan was appointed a member of the Permanent Committee of the Communist Party of Cambodia which was in charge of decision-making on all important government policies.
According to Mr. Ieng Sary’s speech in 1977, Mr. Khieu Samphan was appointed chairman of Office 870, which was the headquarter of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, to replace Comrade Doeun. But Mr. Khieu Samphan, in an open letter written a few years ago, rejected the claim saying it was not true, adding that he was just an ordinary member of Office 870.
After the collapse of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, from 1979-1992, Mr. Khieu Samphan was still an important representative of Democratic Kampuchea faction in the anti-Vietnamese Tripartite Coalition Government which was formed in 1982.
After the collapse of the Khmer Rouge resistance movement in 1998, Mr Khieu Samphan defected to the government. He was arrested by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on the 19th of November 2007, charged with two offences, ie: crimes against humanity and a gross violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which is a criminal offence punishable under articles 5,6, 29 and punishable under the new article 39 of laws enacted for the creation of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal that adopted on the 27th of October 2004.
Mr Khieu Samphan had elected Mr. Say Bory and Mr. Jacques Veges as his defence lawyers in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
On 23rd April 2008, Mr. Khieu Samphan lodged an appeal against his detention. The Khmer Rouge Tribunal will hear his appeal in a public court session whether to grant him bail or continue to detain him until the court begins to conduct a full session on his case. //