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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cadres to 'confront' each other

Cadres to 'confront' each other

KR court defendants to testify against each other on S-21

EVEN as sources close to the court suggest that a new submission of suspects is only days away, two of the five Khmer Rouge leaders already indicted for war crimes are set to "confront" each other as part of investigations into their involvement in the deaths of up to 16,000 men,

women and children at the regime's notorious Tuol Sleng prison, judges at the tribunal confirmed Wednesday.

Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, more commonly known as Duch, has accused "Brother No 2" Nuon Chea of ordering executions that occurred under his supervision at the school-turned-torture centre.

The two defendants will provide concurrent testimonies to judges, which are then expected to be used as evidence in Nuon Chea's likely trial.

The meeting, which will be held in private, was scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed Tuesday at the request of Nuon Chea's defence team.

Co-investigating Judge You Bun Leng confirmed Wednesday that there would still be a "confrontation" meeting but was unable to provide a date or comment on its format.

Co-lawyer for Nuon Chea, Son Arun, told the Post Wednesday that the decision to postpone was simply a matter of readiness, saying:  "My client and my co-lawyer and I are not ready [for the confrontation]. There are a lot of documents that need to be read first, so we have decided to postpone it."

Duch's co-lawyer, Ka Savuth, was unavailable for comment.

Suspects bear witness

Nuon Chea's prosecution will depend heavily on evidence elicited from Duch's testimony.

Duch, unlike Nuon Chea, has expressed a willingness to talk and has acknowledged his role as prison chief at Tuol Sleng during the 1975-79 regime. Since his arrest, the born-again Christian has fingered fellow detainees as people he took orders from, and proclaimed his readiness to provide evidence to the tribunal.

Both defendants face charges of crimes against humanity. Duch, who is the youngest defendant at 66, is expected to go on trial early next year.



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