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Khmer Rouge Suspect Refuses To Go Along With Tribunal

This photo taken last week shows Im Chaem sitting at her home in Anlong Veng, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northern Cambodia, and refusing to follow an indictment to appear at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. (Courtesy of Documentation Center of Cambodia)

A former Khmer Rouge commander who is listed as a suspect at the UN-backed tribunal says she will not cooperate with the court.

Im Chaem, 68, is accused of atrocity crimes for her role in purges of Khmer Rogue cadre and for running a detention center where tens of thousands of people died.

She told VOA Khmer she refused to sign or accept an indictment when presented it recently by officials from the tribunal, including the international co-investigating judge, Mark Harmon.

“They read me the summons and asked me to answer it, but I didn’t do it,” Im Chaem said by phone from her home in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey province. “I didn’t give any testimony, because they just wrote things down without reasons or truth. They were just sort of unreasonable allegations.”

When Harmon had a translator read her the indictment and ask her to sign it, she refused, she said. “I did not keep it. I said to him, ‘Let’s give that to my lawyer.’”

What the court can do to pursue the case—which has seen strong opposition by senior members of the Cambodian government, including Prime Minister Hun Sen—is unclear. Tribunal officials declined to comment on the indictment, or Im Chaem’s statements.