ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nuon Chea Said to Have Ordered Torture

Nuon Chea Said to Have Ordered Torture

The Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Detained former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea allegedly ordered the murder and torture of civilians when the communist group ruled Cambodia in the 1970s, a U.N-backed genocide tribunal said in a statement Friday.

The 81-year-old former Khmer Rouge ideologist was arrested and charged Wednesday with crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with atrocities that caused the deaths of some 1.7 million people during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule.

The detailed detention order made public Friday by the tribunal's co-investigating judges said Nuon Chea "planned, instigated, ordered, directed or otherwise aided and abetted in the commission" of crimes that include "murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, enslavement and other inhumane acts."

It also charged that he exercised authority and effective control over the group's internal security apparatus, including detention centers. Nuon Chea is the second, and highest-ranking, Khmer Rouge leader detained to appear before the panel.

Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who headed the former Khmer Rouge S-21 torture center, was charged on July 31 with crimes against humanity. Prosecutors have recommended three other suspects for trial, but have not named them publicly.

"Many documents and witness statements" have implicated Nuon Chea for the crimes he has been charged with, said the order. The judges said he faces life imprisonment if convicted. Cambodia has no death penalty.

The document also cited Nuon Chea's response to the allegations, including his claim that leaders such as he had no direct contact with lower level Khmer Rouge units and were unaware of what they may have been doing.

He also said that all real power was in the hands of the group's military committee, of which he was not a member.

The order said Nuon Chea's provisional detention was necessary to prevent any pressure on witnesses or destruction of evidence, and that the crimes with which he is charged could provoke public ire that might endanger his own safety if he were free. It also said he might try to flee.

The order gave Nuon Chea's birthdate as July 7, 1926, making him 81, a year younger than the age given by his family. Some Southeast Asian cultures count age by regarding a person as 1 year old at birth.

Earlier Friday, a lawyer picked to represent Nuon Chea acknowledged he faced a "heavy burden" in defending his client.

Son Arun, a private attorney, said he met with Nuon Chea for the first time Thursday.

"There are many things for me to do, many documents for me to research. This is a heavy burden, but I am happy to take up the job," Son Arun said.

Nuon Chea can also choose a foreign lawyer , an arrangement offered by the U.N.-backed Cambodian genocide tribunal, it said in a statement Friday.

The tribunal statement said Nuon Chea has claimed he does not have money to pay for his legal fees. If it is determined he cannot afford the legal fees, the tribunal will pick up the costs, the statement said.

Son Arun is a member of the Cambodian Bar Association and has worked in private practice for over 11 years. He has represented defendants charged with serious crimes, including terrorism, the statement said without elaborating.

Son Arun said he was surprised to learn on Wednesday that Nuon Chea wanted him as his lawyer.

Khmer Rouge chief Pol Pot died in 1998 and his former military chief, Ta Mok, died in 2006 in government custody.

Nuon Chea's senior-level colleagues , Ieng Sary, the former foreign minister, and Khieu Samphan, the former head of state , live freely in Cambodia but are in declining health. They are also widely believed to be on the prosecutors' list.

Trials are expected to begin early next year.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects throughout that tribunal statement is detention order sted indictment)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home