What the papers say
Christopher Howes: He stayed behind for his men - and ‘died from a single shot’
The five former fighters, facing trial in the capital, Phnom Penh, all denied taking any personal part in the killings of Mr Howes and his translator, Houn Hourth, and blamed the crime on two other guerrillas who are believed to be dead…Twenty other members of Mr Howes’s team were held, but were released after he agreed to remain with their captors as surety for a future ransom. But he and Mr Houn were shot dead within a week after being given a last meal of apples and the tropical fruit durian, according to Cambodian prosecutors…A joint investigation by Cambodian and Scotland Yard detectives suggested ten years ago that Loch Mao was responsible for the killing. But yesterday the accused man insisted that his senior commander, Khem Tem, had ordered a soldier named Nget Rim to carry out the murder. “Howes fell backward. It was one single shot,” Mr Loch said. “Khem Tem then ordered me to fire more shots. I walked up with the intention of firing a shot into his chest, but Khem Ngun [another of the defendants] yelled, ‘That’s enough, he is already dead’.”…Mr Khem, who subsequently defected from the Khmer Rouge and was a major-general in the Cambodian Army at the time of his arrest last November, said: “Another Khmer Rouge soldier close to Ta Mok [a senior commander] ordered the shooting of Howes in the head, and then I turned my face away and felt shock.”…Another of the accused men, Put Lim, said that Mr Howes was killed at night and his body was cremated on a wood fire.Khmer Rouge soldier tells of Briton's murder - by Andrew Buncombe, The Independent,
More than a decade after a British charity worker was seized and murdered in
Pol Pot ordered murder of British mine-clearer, court told: Trial hears Khmer Rouge leader had blanket policy to murder foreigners on grounds they supported the government – by Ian MacKinnon, The Guardian,
A British mine-clearing expert who was murdered in Cambodia and his remains burned to hide the evidence was killed on the orders of the Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, a court heard today…Howes was shot within days of his capture while leading a mine-clearance team north of Siem Reap - home to the Angkor Wat temple complex - after his abductors lulled him into a false sense of security by laying out a sleeping mattress for the night and giving him fruit…His interpreter, Huon Houth, who was among the 30-strong team from British-based Mines Advisory Group (MAG), was murdered a day earlier when his captors deemed him "no longer necessary" because one of the alleged killers spoke English…Investigations by a Scotland Yard team working with the Cambodian police eventually unravelled Howes' fate, declaring he was murdered after forensic tests on bone fragments found in a fire. The evidence collected from witness statements in the two years after Howes' disappearance was presented at the Phnom Penh court today by former Metropolitan police anti-terrorism officer, Mike Dickson, now an advisor to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal…One of the accused, Khem Ngoun, 59, the former chief-of-staff of the one-legged Khmer Rouge army commander, Ta Mok, was a brigadier-general in the Cambodian army until his arrest. Along with the others, Loch Mao, 54, a Khmer Rouge officer who became a civil servant, Cheath Chet, 34, Puth Lim, 58, and Sin Dorn, 52, the frail Ngoun faces life imprisonment for murder and illegal detention when the investigating judge, Iv Kimsry, delivers his verdict in 10 days' time…In a marathon session the court heard today of the chilling last days of Howes and Hourth after their abduction on March 26 1996. Some of the de-mining team escaped almost immediately while all the others were released after Howes declined to abandon his staff to fetch ransom money. Howes and Hourth were taken towards Anlong Veng. But in an interview with the British detectives, Khieu Sampan, the Khmer Rouge's nominal head of state, said that Hourth was killed in Kul village after Ngoun said the interpreter was unnecessary. Howes was held in a school where Ngoun interrogated him, before he was taken out into the countryside to a road near the house of Mok, who passed the order to "solve the problem" and kill him. Howes was taken in a white
Court hears chilling details of how British landmine expert was taken into the Cambodian jungle and executed by Khmer Rouge - by Richard Shears, The Mail,
Khmer Rouge guerillas who killed British mine expert go on trial: Five former Khmer Rouge guerrillas went on trial in Phnom Penh yesterday for the murder of the British mine clearance expert Christopher Howes in Cambodia 12 years ago - by Tom Bell, The Telegraph,
Members of the mine sweeping team testified yesterday that Mr Howes refused to leave them to fetch ransom money, preferring to stay with his men and negotiate their release. His bravery earned him a posthumous Queen's Gallantry Medal. The Cambodian King Noradom Sihanouk named a street in the capital after him. The others were soon released but Mr Howes and his translator, Houth, never were…The court heard that when one of the accused, Khem Noung, took charge of the prisoners he allegedly quickly killed Houth. Mr Noung could speak English himself so the translator was "no use any more", said to the investigating judge. Mr Noung took Mr Howes to the Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng, it was claimed. Mr Noung testified that at a meeting with Ta Mok, a notorious, one legged commander known as "the butcher', he received a chilling message: "Brother does not want to keep the foreigner alive". That was a reference to Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge's "Brother Number One". The same night, three of the accused including Mr Noung drove Mr Howes into the dark in a pickup truck, the court heard. They ordered him to sit in front of the car and gave him some fruit to eat, it was claimed. Puth Lim, the driver, told the court, "They told me to turn on the headlights so the foreigner can eat the fruit. After that I heard gunshots"…Mr Howes's funeral pyre burnt all night as the killers tried to dispose of the evidence, prosecutors said. In the morning they raked through the ashes and allegedly presented the bone fragments to Ta Mok. None of the three men accused of being at the scene of the crime denies they were present, but they tried to shift the blame for the killing onto others – some of whom are now dead. The two other defendants admitted their role in the kidnapping, but said they would have been killed if they refused.
Pol Pot deputy in court over Backwell land mine expert's execution – Bristol Evening Post,
British man offered final meal before execution – The Metro,
Ex-Khmer Rouge soldiers tried for murder of Briton – by Ker Munthit, Associated Press
Five former Khmer Rouge soldiers accused of killing a British mine-clearing expert 12 years ago testified Friday that another soldier shot the man in the head as he sat in the dark at their remote base, illuminated only by car headlights…The one-day trial for his murder ended late Friday after closing statements from the prosecution and defense. The judge, Iv Kim Sri, said he would deliver his verdict on Oct. 14. The five defendants, all former Khmer Rouge guerrillas, testified that two other guerrillas - now believed dead - were instead responsible for Howes' murder and that of his Cambodian translator. Three of the defendants gave vivid accounts of the Briton's execution-style killing, describing how the guerrillas had driven him in a car to their base in Anlong Veng in northern
Meanwhile, The Cambodia Daily review of the court case by Prak Chan Thul under the title Five Suspects in Demining Deaths Stand Trial included the following; The most senior of the five suspects, Khim Ngon...told the court that Ta Mok had ordered him to pick up Howes from the Khmer Rouge troops in Siem Reap and bring him to Anlong Veng. Khim Ngon asked the court for leniency, pointing to his age and the promise of reconciliation offered those who defected from the Khmer Rouge. "I am really 59 by the end of this year," he said. "I collected the forces integrating into the government, believing that I would rebuild myself in the society and would be safe with my wife and children," he added. The three person defense tem representing the five men challenged the court's decision to charge their clients under the 1994 law outlawing the Khmer Rouge. "What about Ieng Sary who brought in 4,000 troops in 1998? Will he be charged?" said attorney Lim Eng Ratanak, who defended Puth Lim. "It is against the legal procedure. If they charge, it has to be tens of thousands of people."