French lawyer in Cambodia to represent ex-Khmer Rouge leader
By KER MUNTHIT
Monday, April 21, 2008
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A French lawyer who defended terrorists and a former Nazi officer arrived in Cambodia on Monday to represent a former Khmer Rouge leader.
Jacques Verges declined to comment and only said "go to the court" before being whisked away in a car after his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport.
Verges will join a Cambodian attorney to argue former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan's appeal against his pretrial detention.
The U.N.-assisted tribunal has held Khieu Samphan since Nov. 19 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from atrocities committed under Khmer Rouge rule in 1975-79.
The communist group's radical policies led to the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
Khieu Samphan is one of five former leaders of the group held for their alleged roles in the atrocities. He has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Verges has won international notoriety for his past efforts in defending criminals such as Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal and Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie.
Khieu Samphan has said he has known Verges since he attended university in France in the 1950s, when both were active in student movements against French colonialism.
Khieu Samphan's defense team also includes Say Bory, a Cambodian lawyer who used to serve on the constitutional council, the country's highest legal body.
Say Bory said the defense is challenging both the tribunal's grounds for detaining Khieu Samphan and its arguments implicating him in the Khmer Rouge's atrocities.
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