Khmer Rouge President Busted

Pol Pot's head of state charged with crimes against humanity
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2007 12:22 PM CST
A Cambodian vendor displays a CD for sale of interviews of former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan Monday, Nov. 19, 2007, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The U.N.-backed genocide tribunal in Cambodia arrested...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After almost a decade of delays, Cambodia’s UN-backed genocide court is in full swing, today arresting ex-Khmer Rouge president Khieu Samphan. Samphan, 76, who was seized from a Phnom Penh hospital, is the fifth member of Pol Pot’s bloody cabal arrested so far. In a book released last week, he defended Pol Pot and blamed the regime's atrocities on regional commanders.

“There was no policy of starvation. There was no policy of mass killings,” he wrote, but acknowledged “coercion was needed” to keep people working. Samphan apparently suffered a stroke last week; he needed to be helped into his police convoy seat. His lawyer, controversial “Terror Advocate” Jacques Verges, says Samphan was just a young idealist trapped in an extremist regime.