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Nuon Chea Denies Role in Security Apparatus, Killings

From left to right: Nuon Chea, former Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and the No. 2 leader, Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, and Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge head of state, during a trial for former Khmer Rouge top leaders, in Phnom Pen

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea was given the right to order killings under the regime’s policies, a tribunal prosecutor told the court Thursday.

Dale Lysak, international deputy prosecutor for the UN-backed court, said documentation of the regime showed that the security committee, which included Nuon Chea and Pol Pot, decided on “all the killings.”

Nuon Chea, as he has done continuously during his atrocity crimes trial, denied the charges.

“I was the president of the National Assembly,” he said. “How could I work for the military?”

None of the three leaders currently on trial—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan or Ieng Sary—have taken responsibility for the 1.7 million or more deaths that took place under their leadership, despite a large body of evidence, research and scholarship.

Nuon Chea has so far been the only one of the three men willing to openly face the court, but he has spent much of his testimony issuing similar denials.

Citing international media reports, Lysak showed that Nuon Chea acted as leader of the Khmer Rouge at a time when Pol Pot was receiving medical treatment in China.

Nuon Chea said he wanted to see original documentation and hear recordings of his own voice before giving the accusations credence.