Thursday, September 20, 2007

Brother Number 2 Under Arrest

Khmer Rouge's Nuon Chea Arrested, Facing Questioning By U.N. Tribunal

The man known as Brother Number 2, Nuon Chea, in Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge faced questioning on Wednesday by a war crimes tribunal. Cambodian court officials began interrogating the 82-year-old former leader at his rural village home on the Thai border. The Cambodian court set up to bring former leaders of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime is tasked to look into alleged crimes against humanity and had Chea transported via helicopter to the capital for official criminal processing.

According to an official statement, "Nuon Chea was brought before the office of the co-investigating judge of the ECCC in execution of the arrest warrant. An initial appearance will be held today during which he will be informed of the charges against him."

A court spokesperson said it should be clear by Wednesday evening if charges will be issued immediately to the defendant or whether authorities will place him in custody while they investigate.

Chea was once regaled as one of Pol Pot's top leaders his arrest is notable because of his alleged decision-making role in execution role. He is also believed to be one of the key architects in the execution policies of the 1975-1979 communist regime. The group is blamed in the deaths of over two million people.

"It's such a relief -- even though Nuon Chea's indictment cannot bring back what we have lost," said top Cambodian genocide researcher Youk Chhang in an AFP report.

"It's ... a sense that something has been done."