Investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge tribunal hope to
hold a nonpublic hearing wherein two former regime leaders will confront each
other, a judge said.
Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Iev will confront the
senior-most surviving leader, Nuon Chea, investigating judge You Bunleng said.
The two will need to give concurrent testimony over
accusations made by Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, that Nuon Chea
masterminded the killings of Tuol Sleng, where at least 12,000 people were
interned before being executed, sources said.
“We need to make it transparent, as one has accused the
other,” You Bunleng said. He would not confirm the nature of the accusations or
the date of the inquiry.
Sources said the hearing could be held this weekend.
Duch defense lawyer Ka Savuth confirmed a hearing was
planned, but he declined to give any details.
Nuon Chea’s defender, Son Arun, said he was consulting with
this international counterpart and client about the judges’ plan, but he
declined to elaborate.
If either defendant refuses a confrontation, “I could not
force them,” You Bunleng said.
Duch, who faces charges of war crimes and crimes against
humanity, is expected to be the first of five leaders to face trial, early in
2009. He was the direct subordinate of Son Sen, the Khmer Rouge’s minister of
defense, who died in Anlong Veng in 1997 and reported to Nuon Chea.
Nuon Chea was Pol Pot’s lieutenant, and went by the name
“Brother No. 2.”