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Nuon Chea Disputes Tribunal Indictments

Detained Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea has denied charges of atrocity crimes leveled against him by the special tribunal, the courts said in a statement Friday.

Nuon Chea is being held by the tribunal in Phnom Penh, following formal charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Nuon Chea told the courts the top leadership of the regime "did not have direct contact with [Khmer Rouge] bases" outside Phnom Penh and "were not aware of what was happening" in them, according to the court detention order, released Friday.

The detention order provides information similar to a US court indictment.

Nuon Chea is alleged to have "planned, instigated, ordered, directed or otherwise aided and abetted" crimes that include "murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, enslavement," as well as "willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, willful deprivation or rights to a fair trial, unlawful confinement and unlawful deportation or transfer," the detention order says.

Nuon Chea committed the offenses as deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, a member of the party's Central and Standing committees, chairman of the Democratic Kampuchea People's Assembly, acting prime minister and vice chairman of the party's Center Military Committee, according to the detention order.

"Nuon Chea disputed the crimes with which he is charged, indicating that he would be ashamed to have committed such crimes," the order says.

Nuon Chea told the courts "he never adopted any law allowing citizens to be killed," the order says. "He pointed out that he personally lost around 40 family members during the evnts of the time."

Nuon Chea will be detained for as long as a year, the order says, because the crimes he is alleged to have committed mean his safety and public order might be jeopardized by his release.

Nuon Chea protested his dention, saying he was ready to cooperate with the court.

"He wished to enlighten the Kampuchean people and the whole world concerning the real enemies of Cambodia," the order says, "specifying that he is a patriot and not a coward and that he does not intend to tarnish the honor of his country by fleeing."