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Pre-Stroke Khieu Samphan Defends Role in KR


[Editor's note: Three hours before he suffered an apparent stroke Tuesday, Khieu Samphan gave a 20-minute phone interview to VOA Khmer. He was taken to a Phnom Penh hospital Wednesday, and has not talked to the media since his arrival. What follows is part two of a four-part series detailing Tuesday's interview.]

For Part One, Click Here.

For Part Three, Click Here.

Khieu Samphan confirmed Monday he had hired French attorney Jacques Verges and said he was unaware of the activities of Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, who both now face atrocity crimes charges and are in tribunal detention.

Asked what he thought of the arrests of Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan declined to comment, but elaborated on their roles during Democratic Kampuchea.

"Ieng Sary was responsible for the regime's foreign affairs, dealing with both the party and foreign countries," Khieu Samphan said. "As for me, I worked as the head of state and my first responsibility in the regime was to deal with local and international trade, such as pricing goods or produce made by the community, the sale and the distribution of those products.

"My second responsibility was to work with the king and some other officials joining the regime since 1970 coup," he said, referring to then king Norodom Sihanouk. "That was stated very clearly in the job description back then."

Khieu Samphan also said Monday he traveled little under the regime, and most of the regime's work was undertaken by others in Department 870.

The department planned daily activities, handled political affairs and investigated front-line Khmer Rouge cadre.

His section was under Department 870, but he only knew about his job, trade and commerce, he said.

"You can investigate that among the Khmer Rouge leaders," he said. "Did I ever travel anywhere from 1975 to 1979? As I told you, Ieng Sary was responsible for foreign affairs, and I was the head of state, but the daily work [of others] was at Department 870. The department had its own policy. In 1979, the policy was broader, and [the department] joined with Democratic Kampuchea and the king. From 1975 they established a communist regime for whatever benefits I don't want to mention; you can read my book."

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