Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 10:34 UK

French lawyer takes on Khmer case

Former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan (file pic)
Khieu Samphan, detained in November, is accused of war crimes

A French lawyer whose previous clients have included a Nazi war criminal has agreed to represent former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan in Cambodia.

Jacques Verges has defended World War II criminal Klaus Barbie, as well as Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal.

He will join Khieu Samphan when he appeals on Wednesday against his pre-trial detention by the UN-backed genocide tribunal in Cambodia.

The Khmer Rouge exercised a reign of terror in Cambodia in 1975-79.

They are blamed for more than one million deaths, many of them in the notorious "killing fields", where Cambodians endured brutal slave labour conditions.

French lawyer Jacques Verges (file pic)
Jacques Verges has strongly anti-colonialist views

Five senior Khmer Rouge officials are now in the custody of the tribunal.

Khieu Samphan, the former Khmer Rouge head of state, has repeatedly denied involvement in the radical communist group's atrocities.

Mr Verges declined to comment on the case when he arrived in the capital Phnom Penh on Monday.

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