Nuon Chea Denies Role In Mass Murder During the Democratic Kampuchea Regime

Posted by khmernews on July 31, 2007


The former top surviving Khmer Rouge leader or big brother number 2 Nuon Chea is expecting that he will be alive until the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) hold trials officially although he is aging and with serious illnesses. The expectation has been made after the Co-Prosecutors filed the Introductory Submission to the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges. The Co-Investigating Judges have suspected 5 former senior Khmer Rouge cadres of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime.

Nuon Chea, Khmer Rouge regime’s big brother 2, 82, said solemnly that he would continue to live in order to take part in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal which he believed he was also included as a suspect. “Although my health is deteriorating and among the five selected people there might be me, I would go to clarify in the court if the court sends me an invitation,” said Nuon Chea. Former president of the DK People’s Representative National Assembly Nuon Chea, who has been accused of mass murder of as many as 2 million Cambodian people, denied that he killed people during the “3 years, 8 months and 20 days” regime although he was the president of the National Assembly. He refused to say who was responsible for the mass death of Cambodian during the regime, but is waiting to explain in the up-coming court.

In front of his house outside Pailin near Cambodian-Thai border are two or three policemen who are stationing to guard there. Nuon Chea said that those people were guarding him only. Nuon Chea is getting very old. He needs to hold a walking stick and requires a person to help when he travels. Seventy-one-year-old Nuon Chea’s wife has to look after Nuon Chea, three-year-old grandson, and one-year-old granddaughter. The two kids are living with them and accompanying their lives.

Nuon Chea claimed that he wouldn’t be afraid when the court called for him to clarify in the trial, but he doubted the ECCC could give him justice.

Nuon Chea still hasn’t found a lawyer to defense, but intends to select Cambodian lawyer rather than foreign lawyer to represent him.

Co-Prosecutors have identified 5 suspects whom people believe were the top Khmer Rouge leaders including Nuon Chea, former president of the National Assembly, Khieu Samphan, former president of the Khmer Rouge State Presidium, Ieng Sary, former deputy-prime minister for foreign affairs, and Kaing Khek Iev, former chief of Tuol Sleng prison of the Khmer Rouge regime. Amongst these people, only Duch has a defending lawyer, Kar Savuth.

Robert Petit, head of the Office of Lawyers for the Khmer Rouge trials, has received approximately 100 application forms since his office announced to receive the forms earlier this week. The registration period is one month for lawyers. After that, their names will be listed. He said that since the opening of the registration many lawyers around the world had submitted their application forms. “Now, we are in the middle of the process and submitting those application forms to the Cambodian Bar Association (CBA) to decide. It will be ready in one month,” said Robert Petit.

Concerning Nuon Chea, who is looking for a lawyer by himself or waiting for lawyer in the Khmer Rouge trials’ lawyer list, Robert Petit said that the former Khmer Rouge leaders could find lawyers to defense them by themselves if they had money to spend. “But if they don’t, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will spend for them,” he said.

The problem concerning lawyers has blocked the process of the trials for a while when Cambodian and international judges were drafting the internal rules which are very important for all practice in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The obstruction was caused by the CBA which set too high registration fees for foreign lawyers. Some Cambodian lawyers are worried that after the registration they will not have clients to defense and others are concerning about the decision made by the CBA which can be politically biased.

Ky Tech, president of the CBA, said that the CBA had announced to receive the application forms in order to select lawyers for the up-coming Khmer Rouge trials. He added that Cambodian lawyers would receive funds from the UN.

Reach Sambath, Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s spokesman, considered the announcement made by the CBA lawful.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said that the CBA was very important in giving rights to the accused in accord to law and to strengthen the legal procedures which are very important for the judicial process and justice finding.

In the Introductory Submission filed on Wednesday, the ECCC’s Co-Prosecutors state that serious and extensive violations of international humanitarian law and Cambodian law occurred in the country during the period of Democratic Kampuchea, led by Pol Pot, from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. These violations include systematic murder, torture, forcible transfer, unlawful detention, forced labor and religious, political and ethnic persecution. The Co-Prosecutors consider these crimes as crimes against humanity and genocidal crimes. However, Nuon Chea, who knows that he is one of the 5 suspects, said that the term “genocidal crimes” shouldn’t be used in the Cambodia’s condition.

Nevertheless, Nuon Chea still doesn’t have confidence on the hybrid Khmer Rouge Tribunal in which Cambodian judges work together with international. “Justice in this tribunal doesn’t depend solely on law,” he said.

Informal Translation
-Extracted from Sralanh Khmer, vol.03, #459, Sunday, July 22, 2007.


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