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Khieu Samphan: 'I'm Also an Oridinary Person'

[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 four of a four-part series detailing Tuesday's interview.]

For Part Three, Click Here.

The UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal is meant to set a good example for others and to bring to Cambodia the rule of law, Khieu Samphan said, but "whether or not the expectation can be realized, I don't know."

"I cannot say anything about it until the trials actually start," he said. "If the trial is not fair, then it won't give Cambodia the rule of law. Then it will have achieved nothing."

Asked whether a tribunal would bring justice to the Cambodian people for Khmer Rouge atrocities, Khieu Samphan reiterated that his own research—he has written two books—did not show the order of mass killings. Individuals will have to be investigated, he said, but he would not comment on whether this might bring true justice to Cambodians.

Khieu Samphan, once the nominal head of the regime, is widely expected to face indictments on atrocity crimes, to follow in the path of four former Khmer Rouge leaders now in a tribunal jail awaiting trial. He has already hired French attorney Jacques Verges, a famous defender of accused terrorists, in the event he is charged.

"If I am indicted for whatever reason, it is the job of those co-prosecutors to find evidence, not mine," he said.

He declined to say what evidence he might bring in his own defense.

His final message to Cambodians if he is to be indicted, he said, would be to remind them that he is common among them.

"I don't have any message," he said, "as I am also an ordinary person."