By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: NOVEMBER 1, 2011
A former leader of the Khmer Rouge has refused to testify or face cross examination at a Cambodian war crimes tribunal. Eight-six-year-old Ieng Sary is one of four defendants set to face charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the deaths two million Cambodians from 1975-1979.
In a written statement to the court, Sary said, ‘I have my legal team. I have received a notice of the charges against me. I know my right to remain silent during the hearings … I will not testify, including answer any question put to me, during any trial.’
A spokesperson for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia said, ‘Ieng Sary has the right to remain silent and not to respond to any inquiries. Even though he has refused to testify, he has his legal team to speak on his behalf.’
The former Foreign Minister’s silence is said to be a blow to the many Cambodians who hoped to the testimony might offer some insight into the regime’s ideology.
‘Cambodians generally come to the court to see these people and hear what they have to say,’ a trial monitor said, ‘but the accused have a right not to say anything.’
Opening statements are scheduled for November 21.