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Lawyers seek PM's testimony

Nuon Chea's attorneys ask that ECCC interviews Hun Sen

LAWYERS for the former Khmer Rouge chief ideologist Nuon Chea have requested judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal interview Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Father Norodom Sihanouk as part of investigations into their client's role in the 1975-79 regime.

In a court document dated Tuesday and obtained by the Post Saturday, lawyers argued that the prime minister, along with National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Cambodian People's Party President Chea Sim should be under investigation in the case "given their former ranks within DK".

"The above-named individuals are likely in possession of documents and information relevant to the pending judicial investigation," it said.

It requested co-investigating judges to interview the individuals with respect to any previous interactions with Nuon Chea, and the existence of a "common plan of systematic persecution".

It is the tenth such request by the defence team, who have also called for the King Father, Norodom Sihanouk, and former allies of the Khmer Rouge to be investigated.

"Given [Sihanouk's] unique role in the DK government as well as his uncommon access to the Khmer Rouge inner circle, Sihanouk is singularly capable of providing information relevant to the [prosecutors'] allegations relating to the DK authority structure," states a separate request dated December 1 and also obtained by the Post Saturday.  

Andrew Ianuzzi, legal consultant for Nuon Chea's lawyers, could not comment on the documents except to confirm that they had been filed and no responses had been received.

Minister for Information Khieu Kanarith told the Post Sunday he had not yet seen any formal request but refuted the value of such interviews.

"You have to ask the logical questions. If they were low-ranking officers, how could they know about the system? If Hun Sen did not clearly know who Nuon Chea was [during the regime], how could he be a witness?" he said.

"I have not yet seen any request from the defence lawyers yet, so I do not know if this is an official request," he added.

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