Khmer Rouge second-in-command denies war crimes charges

[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea [GenocideWatch report] has disputed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to his detention order [PDF text], published Friday by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive]. Chea, who was arrested and charged [statement, PDF; JURIST report] earlier this week, said that he was never in the position to order the deaths attributed to him and that he would have been ashamed to do so. Despite his denial, Chea has said he will cooperate with the ECCC [JURIST report] and that he has selected Cambodian lawyer Son Arun [press release, PDF] to represent him in proceedings.

Chea was known as Brother Number Two in the Khmer Rouge, indicative of his high position in the communist movement led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998 having never been prosecuted for alleged war crimes. The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979. The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2005, PDF] to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials, but to date, no top officials have faced trial. AFP has more.

 

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