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Tribunal Set to Summon Nuon Chea, Son Confirms

The Khmer Rouge tribunal is prepared to summon Nuon Chea, the highest-ranking leader of the failed regime still alive, for questioning at the special courts, two sources close to the tribunal and a family member said Tuesday.

"Yes, they have informed me" of a summons, Nuon Say, son of Nuon Chea, said from the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin Tuesday. "I tried to find the summons, but [Nuon Chea] has not seen it yet."

If summoned, Nuon Chea, 82, would be the highest-ranking cadre of the Khmer Rouge to face a tribunal. He could be summoned as a witness or a suspect.

Two tribunal observers with intimate knowledge of the courts said a summons for Nuon Chea to appear could come as early as Friday.

Pol Pot's top lieutenant, Nuon Chea was known as Brother No. 2. He has said in the past he does not fear a day in court and looks forward to participating in a trial.

The tribunal courts so far have one suspect in custody, the Tuol Sleng torture center chief aliased Duch. Investigators have four names handed to them by prosecutors they could indict, but these names have been kept out of the public eye.

Nuon Chea has said he believes himself to be one of the four.

Nuon Say said Tuesday he would never allow his father to be arrested by the courts, echoing sentiments of those still loyal to the Khmer Rouge commander.

The courts may "invite" Nuon Chea to answer questions, Nuon Say said.

"My father said he will go to the court if the court needs him," Nuon Say said.