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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 13:54 GMT
Khmer Rouge man seeks legal aid
Khieu Samphan
Khieu Samphan now lives in a remote jungle area near Thailand
The former head of state in Cambodia's 1970s Khmer Rouge government, Khieu Samphan, has been seeking legal help ahead of his likely trial by a United Nations-backed court.

A legal rights group has said that the former president visited its offices three months ago to discuss the possibility of legal representation.

The Cambodian defenders project usually provides legal assistance to the poor and vulnerable.

Sok Sam Ouen, executive director of the organisation, said he told Khieu Samphan to wait until the tribunal is actually formed.

"He's afraid to have a biased lawyer or someone that is not so good," he said.

In March this year, the Cambodian government and the United Nations finally agreed to set-up a joint Cambodian-international tribunal to try the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

The agreement has yet to be ratified by the Cambodian parliament because of the political deadlock following an election earlier this year.

Khieu Samphan is among the surviving members of the regime who is almost certain to face trial.

He was the public face of the Khmer Rouge, which under the leadership of Pol Pot in the 1970s is blamed for the deaths of over 1 million people.

Other Khmer Rouge figures likely to appear before the court include the former foreign minister, Iang Sary, and Nuon Chea, who was known as "Brother Number Two."

The former military commander Ta Mok is already in prison awaiting trial, while Pol Pot himself died in 1998.

Khieu Samphan currently lives in a remote jungle clearing on the Thai-Cambodian border, where he rears ducks.


SEE ALSO:
UN and Cambodia sign court deal
06 Jun 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge's legacy of fear
24 May 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Key figures in the Khmer Rouge
17 Mar 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Surviving the Khmer Rouge
24 Jan 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Pol Pot: Life of a tyrant
14 Apr 00  |  Asia-Pacific
Masters of the killing fields
02 Jan 01  |  Asia-Pacific


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