Meas Muth, originally from Cambodia, has been accused of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Khmer Rouge dictatorship in Cambodia.
Muth was involved in the Cambodian communist movement from the 1960s, when he was part of a pro-revolutionary movement active in some pagodas of Phnom Penh. After a quick ascension in the ranks of the Khmer Rouge army, he was put in charge of different sections in the country (sections were assigned according to different geographical areas).
On 17 April 1975, Muth became secretary of division 164 of the central area of Cambodia, which included a recently created navy and some specials units related to it. At the same time he also took part in many political and general staff meetings.
At that time Muth was directly in charge of the 164 division’s sections, which was patrolling the gulf of Siam. The navy was sometimes involved in combat against Vietnamese or Thai military vessels and attacked civilian fishing boats or boats carrying Vietnamese civilians trying to escape abroad. Many Thai and Vietnamese civilians were killed during these attacks. Vietnamese soldiers and civilians who were captured during these attacks were sent to the detention centre S-21 in order to be executed there, particularly after the Khmer Rouge regime started launching attacks against Vietnam.
At the end of 1978, Muth used his authority as a member of the central committee and of the general staff to execute a purge inside the Khmer Rouge and towards the local population in the same region: some of the victims were transferred to S-21 centre while others were executed in the region.
Investigations showed that Muth was controlling the city of Sihanoukville, the security centre of Wat Eng Tea Nhien and the Stung Hav Rock Quarry (centre of forced labour). He was also responsible for having sent people to S-21, a torture centre where many Vietnamese and Thai fishermen had been executed. During the investigations, evidence also found of his potential responsibility in sending military troupes in Vietnam between 1977 and 1978; attack that led to many atrocities and acts of violence against Vietnamese population.
Not only accused in the case 003 open in 2009 by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – ECCC (special court composed by both Cambodian and international judges), Muth is also a key witness who could provide the Court with a lot of relevant information about the military command structure of the Khmer Rouges.