Report from Cambodia

Neutral Cambodia is a daily victim of criminal aggression against its frontier posts and villages; of all kinds of violations of its territorial integrity; violations of its air space and of its land and sea territories. These violations are deliberately committed by the American, South Vietnamese and Thai forces.
     The deliberate aggressions of the armed forces of Thailand have caused in the last two years alone, that is to say from 1965 to the end of March 1967, 108 killed and 277 wounded among the Khmer frontier population.
     On 6 April 1966, units from the Cambodian army recaptured the Temple of Proah Vihear after serious resistance from Thai units. When they retired to their territory the Thai forces killed five prisoners and stayed in position 200 metres on the Cambodian side of the demarcation line. This was an aggression characteristic of the Thai armed forces and it was followed by occupation by force of a temple which, after an irrevocable verdict pronounced by the International Court of Justice on 15 June 1962, lay under Cambodian sovereignty. {173}
     Parallel to their armed actions against the territory and people of Cambodia, the government of Thailand, in agreement with the American-South Vietnamese authorities, creates, supports and equips mercenaries called `Khmer Serei', who are mobilized by force by the American-South Vietnamese authorities among the Cambodians in Cochin China.
     From July 1965 to February 1967 we have observed more than eighty cases of Khmer Serei groups who have deserted and presented themselves to our authorities at different parts of our frontier with Thailand.
     They were mobilized by force by thc American-South Vietnamese authorities, then sent to a military training camp situated at Chi-Hoa near Saigon on the site of a former prison. American and South Vietnamese officers were employed giving them military instruction.
     The American-South Vietnamese armed forces have committed numerous criminal acts of aggression against our frontier villages causing death or injury to the inhabitants and considerable material destruction. To cite only losses of human life, the American-South Vietnamese aggressions have cost in Cambodia, from January 1965 to the end of March 1967, seventy-five killed and 198 wounded.
     In serious cases the royal government of Cambodia invited the members of the International Control Commission, military attachés and the press and journalists to confirm the aggression. Foreign observers in the place where the aggressions occurred have been able to confirm for themselves that they had not the shadow of a justification, and that in fact it was a matter of deliberate provocation.
     On 22 November 1966 our post of Peam Montea, district of Kompong Trabek, Prey Veng Province, was mortar bombed by American-South Vietnamese forces. This bombing, which occurred at 6.40 P.M. and continued until 11.30 P.M. caused ten innocent victims among the occupants of our post, namely five deaths (one provincial guard, two women and two children) and five seriously wounded, including three children of the post. The ICC, several military attachés and numerous journalists came to the spot to confirm this serious incident.
     On 30 December a new, extremely serious aggression of the {174} American-South Vietnamese forces was committed against the village of Bathu, and conducted with forces transported by fifty helicopters, guided by four L-19 observation planes and supported by two jets. It killed four, including two children, and wounded two among the civilian population. Moreover, twelve inhabitants of the village were kidnapped by the aggressors and forcefully led into South Vietnamese territory. The village of Bathu has undergone serious material devastation and numerous domestic animals were killed in the course of this unqualified aggression.
     The international Commission of Surveillance and Control, military and foreign press attachés and local international press correspondents, invited by the royal government, were able to confirm on the spot this odious aggression of American-South Vietnamese forces, as well as the victims and material destruction caused.
     On 24 February 1967, at about 9.30 A.M., a large number of armed forces composed of Americans, South Vietnamese and South Koreans penetrated into Cambodian territory and fired shots in a sustained manner upon Khmer defenders of the village of Daun Roth which lies more than 200 metres on this side of the demarcation line in the commune of Rouong, district of Mimot, Kampong Cham Province. This attack caused one wounded among the inhabitants and material damage to the dwellings of the peasants of the area.
     The same day, at about 12.45 in the afternoon, planes of the same armed forces violently bombed the Khmer village of Chrak Kranh, in the above-cited district and province, situated about 1,000 metres to the west of the village of Daun Roth. Chrak Kranh village was invaded and then set fire to by the American-South Vietnamese troops, transported in a dozen tanks and supported during the raid by artillery fire.
     Until 3 March 1967, the Khmer village of Chrak Kranh was constantly occupied by American and South Vietnamese armed forces. The International Control Commission arrived in the area on 16 March to confirm this criminal violation of Khmer territory followed by the occupation of the Cambodian village of Chrak Kranh.
     Finally, let us describe the appearance of new criminal acts against the peaceful and neutral Cambodian people. It was thus {175} that, on 20 March 1967, low-flying planes of the American-South Vietnamese forces violated Cambodian air space and dropped small canisters of explosives upon our territory in the vicinity of Veal-Seh and Veal-Kram, which lies about 2,800 metres beyond the Cambodian side of the demarcation line, in the commune of Cheam, district of Mimot, in Kampong Cham.
     At about 11 A.M. on the same day, a village family of this region, while travelling, stepped on one of these small concealed weapons. It exploded, seriously wounding the wife in the foot, which had to be amputated, and slightly wounding the father and their three children.
     After numerous international investigations, in which Americans such as the journalists Seymour Topping and Stanley Karnow and members of the `Americans Want to Know' Mission participated, the team from the International War Crimes Tribunal carried out its own investigation of the fables persistently maintained by Washington, Saigon and Bangkok to justify in advance their new aggressive actions to extend the Vietnamese conflict to Cambodia. Such justifications included the supposed Ho Chi Minh Trail passing through Cambodia, the supposed Sihanouk Trail in the north of our country. North Vietnamese divisions allegedly stationed in Kattanakiri, and NLF camp and hospitals situated in Khmer territory.
     The presence of more than 4,000 refugees in Cambodia, fleeing military operations and bombings in the bordering South Vietnamese regions, probably still serves as a pretext for the American imperialists and their lackeys to again slanderously accuse our country of serving as a sanctuary for the North Vietnamese popular forces.
     Thus, as international observers and the ICC have been able to confirm, these are defenceless civilians including women and children, whom the royal government has, for humanitarian reasons, temporarily received, giving them shelter, food and medical care. It did this in spite of the heavy burdens due to the immigration of the Khmers from Krom who also escaped to their mother country following continuous and intolerable exactions by the Saigon authorities. These latter and the American government are in fact practising a veritable policy of genocide against the Cambodian community of 600,000 souls living in South Vietnam. {176} To escape from the systematic massacres and tortures, more than 15,000 people, including entire families and even monks, have come for refuge in Cambodia.

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