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Khieu Samphan stays silent

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Eccc/Pool/Phnom Penh Post
Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan (right) speaks to one of his lawyers at a hearing earlier this week.

An evidence hearing in Case 002 at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was cut short yesterday after co-accused former nominal head of state Khieu Samphan stated that he would exercise his right to remain silent when questioned about the historical background of the regime.

Trial Chamber Judge Jean-Marc Lavergne asked the 80-year-old defendant if he would comment on documents before the chamber, including statements Khieu Samphan made to investigating judges in December 2007.

One of the statements, read out by Judge Lavergne, detailed Khieu Samphan describing his first meeting with regime leader Pol Pot and Nuon Chea about September 1970, during which  Pol Pot referred to him as a “son of the ruined feudal class”.

Khieu Samphan said that what he had related to investigating judges had been reflected in his statement to the court last year.

“I was tolerated . . . I was from the feudal class, and I was not in line with the views of the party,” he said in court, before refusing to comment further.

Khieu Samphan said in court last month that he would not respond to questioning until the prosecution had presented the evidence against him.

Khieu Samphan, along with co-accused former Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea and former foreign affairs minister Ieng Sary, is facing charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

During testimony yesterday, Nuon Chea said that “spies” had been appointed within the party to gather information on people whose activities were considered “suspicious”.

International senior assistant co-prosecutor Dale Lysak questioned Nuon Chea about what happened to “spies or enemy agents” who were captured by “secret defence units” that the defendant had described in testimony last month.

“Democratic Kampuchea was very cautious about its revolution and about the traitors who infiltrated into the Angkar,” Nuon Chea said.

“Spies were appointed to gather information concerning those people, before the information was reported to the superiors who would thoroughly deliberate on the issue before they handed down the measures.”

Nuon Chea said he “cannot accept the credibility” of copied documents presented by the prosecution and will not respond to questions based on them.

The court will hear arguments on the admissibility of documents put before the chamber next week.

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