Khmernews

Read Nuon Chea’s Response to ECCC’s Co-Judges

Posted by khmernews on February 22, 2008

Rithy

Phnom Penh: Nuon Chea, 82, former second most senior leader of Democratic Kampuchea, has confidently responded to the co-judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber without any fear. While the hearing was delayed as one of his lawyers was absent, Nuon Chea blamed the co-judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for being “stubborn” to hold the hearing, although they had known that the lawyer would not be present. “I have said that Nuon Chea needs 3 co-lawyers and cannot lack one of them. But if the hearing is still carried out in violation of my right to counsel, then it is not consistent with international standards,” said Nuon Chea.
Nuon Chea has been charged with crimes against humanity (murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forced evacuation, enslavement, and other inhumane acts).

In a hidden basement where the co-judges questioned Nuon Chea, he answered in great detail, refusing all the allegations made against him of the crimes against humanity. “If I had committed the crimes like what I have been charged, I would be so ashamed of myself,” said Nuon Chea, denying the crimes. “I did not have relationship with the grassroots levels. Therefore, I did not know what things were happening,” claimed Nuon Chea, adding that the absolute power during Democratic Kampuchea had been held by the military committee in which he was not a member. “I was a [Communist Party of Kampuchea’s] member in charge of the legislative power. I had never created law that killed my own people. Around 40 of my relatives were also killed in the events during that regime too. I would like to disagree with the assertions that 1.7 million victims were killed during Democratic Kampuchea, since they forgot to talk about the deaths caused by other perpetrators before 1975 and after 1979,” said Nuon Chea.

“The conditions of the provisional detention have not been fulfilled because since my integration with the Cambodian government, I have lived with freedom without any problem. I have no intention to destroy evidence or put pressure on anyone because I am not cruel and I used to be ordained. Moreover, I have never been threatened by anyone. On the other hand, I have been befriended by many people in the area in which I have been residing. Further, I have been living near Thai border for years. If I wanted to flee, I should have done it,” claimed Nuon Chea.

“I want to show Cambodians and the whole world the real enemies of Cambodia. [I am] not coward but “patriotic”, and I would not let the reputation of the country down,” Nuon Chea responded to the ECCC’s co-judges.

According to the above assertions, Nuon Chea seems not to know anything about the killings of millions of Cambodians during Democratic of Kampuchea under his power. However, although he is trying to deny the committed crimes, he has already been charged with crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, which are stated in article 5, article 6 and article 29 (new) of the law on the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers dated on October 27, 2007.

Nuon Chea was born on January 7, 1926 in Wat Kor village, Wat Kor commune, Sangkae district, Battambang province. Nuon Chea speaks 5 languages: French, English, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese. His father Lao Liv and his mother Dos Nhanh were deceased. He has a wife, Ly Kim, with 3 children. They are currently living in Psar Prum village, Pailin commune, Pailin.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Kampuchea Thmey, VOl. 07, #1564, Wednesday-Monday, February 6-11, 2008.

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