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Nuon Chea Says He Won’t Accept a Change in Lawyers

A tourist looks at a portrait of former Khmer Rouge leader "Brother Number two" Nuon Chea at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh August 2, 2014.

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea says he will not participate in a trial against him if the UN-backed tribunal forces him to change lawyers.

Nuon Chea’s current defense team has been boycotting hearings against him since last week, demanding that the tribunal hears a complaint they filed alleging bias on the part of four tribunal judges and calling for their removal.

Defense lawyers said following a meeting this week the court will replace them if they continue the boycott, though tribunal officials have declined to comment on the closed-door meeting.

Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologue, said in a hand-written note given to media Wednesday that he will not participate in hearings against him if the court nominates new lawyers for him.

He is facing charges of atrocity crimes, including genocide, alongside the regime’s former nominal head of state, Khieu Samphan.