Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Khmer Rouge duo deny ‘Killing Fields’ role as case nears end

By Prak Chan Thul PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – It might be the last time Cambodians hear the words of the elderly men prosecutors say were most responsible for the deaths and suffering of millions under the Khmer Rouge’s 1970s “Killing Fields” rule. There were no last-ditch pleas for forgiveness from the two defendants, the right-hand men of the late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who protested their innocence in their final arguments before a U.N.-backed court hoping to deliver justice before the accused die, or donors’ funding dries up. “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, 87, and former president Khieu Samphan showed no emotion on Thursday when delivering statements to the people they are accused of betraying when they ruled from 1975 to 1979, when Cambodia was turned into a virtual slave labour camp in which as many as 2.2 million died of disease, starvation, torture and execution. Khieu Samphan, 81, insisted he was a leader without power, who took no decisions that resulted in atrocities.

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