Khmer Rouge No 2 picks Dutch defence lawyer

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PHNOM PENH, Oct 18 (Reuters) Khmer Rouge ''Brother Number Two'', Nuon Chea, has chosen a Dutch academic with experience in war crimes trials in Bosnia and Sierra Leone as his defence lawyer, Cambodia's ''Killing Fields'' tribunal said today.

Michiel Pestman, a partner in an Amsterdam-based law firm and university lecturer, will represent Pol Pot's right-hand man jointly with his Cambodian lawyer, Son Arun.

''I will do everything that I can to ensure that our client receives a fair trial,'' he said in a statement released by the million tribunal on the estimated 1.7 million victims of Pol Pot's four-year reign of terror in the 1970s.

''It is essential that he has a proper defence.'' Pestman represented Bosnia at the International Court of Justice in its genocide case against Serbia, and from 2003 defended Moinina Fofana, a Sierra Leone pro-government militia leader convicted of war crimes in August.

Now well into his 80s, Nuon Chea has pleaded innocent to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, although the ultra-Maoist regime's chief jailer has said he received direct orders from Nuon Chea to kill hundreds of people.

The trial, conducted under Cambodia's essentially French legal system, is not expected to begin until well into next year.


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