Khmer Rouge leader asks why Cambodia's ex-king not in dock

November 23, 2011 13:59

PHNOM PENH - The former head of state in Cambodia under the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge denied involvement in mass killings under the regime in the 1970s and asked prosecutors on Wednesday why ex-King Norodom Sihanouk was not also in the dock.

The UN-backed court started a case on Monday against Khieu Samphan and two other leaders of the "Killing Fields" regime blamed for the deaths of as many as 2.2 million people, or about a quarter of Cambodia's population, from 1975-1979.

They are charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide for transforming Cambodia into a mass labor camp where people were executed or died from torture, starvation, disease and overwork.

Paris-educated Khieu Samphan accused the court of re-writing history with "fairy tales" extracted from books and newspapers, and said that as a leader he promoted a communist administration but had no control over those who carried out killings.

"At that time, communism was the one movement that gave hope to millions of youths around the world. What I actually wanted at that time was the best experience for my country," he said.

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