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More Silence From Khmer Rouge Leaders on Trial

Former Khmer Rouge second-in-command Nuon Chea, former President Khieu Samphan and former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary (L-R) attend their trial at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, file photo.

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan refused to answer questions from the UN-backed tribunal on Thursday, cutting short the day’s session.

Khieu Samphan, the former head of state for the regime, is on trial for atrocity crimes alongside the regime’s ideologue, Nuon Chea, and its former foreign minister, Ieng Sary.

Nuon Chea refused to answer questions about a revolutionary magazine on Tuesday unless presented with the original copies, and Ieng Sary has said he will answer no questions from the court.

Their trial is the second of the court and likely to be its most complicated. It has taken years for this case to reach the trial stage, and the defendants have proven recalcitrant at every turn.

Trial Chamber judge Nil Nonn called an end to Thursday’s hearing early after Khieu Samphan exercised his “right not to respond.”

“When they do not cooperate with the court, it means they have something to hide,” said Lao Monghay, an independent political analyst. “But it will not be an obstacle.”

Earlier this week, prosecution at the court has questioned Nuon Chea over the creation of the regime’s armed forces, how it shared power and the establishment of security centers prior to the regime’s takeover of the country.

But in many of his responses, Nuon Chea, known as Brother No. 2 and the lieutenant of Pol Pot, said he couldn’t recall.