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Cambodia ex-president Samphan denies Khmer Rouge genocide policy in new book

[JURIST] Khieu Samphan, the president of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) from 1976 to 1979 during the communist Khmer Rouge regime [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder] has defended the late Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot in a new book, denying that he was responsible for genocide. In his Reflection on Cambodian History Up to the Era of Democratic Kampuchea, Samphan called Pot a patriot [BBC report] insisting that in his government "[t]here was no policy of starving people. Nor was there any direction set out for carrying out mass killings." The Khmer Rouge regime has been blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution between 1975 and 1979.

Samphan is expected to be arrested [Reuters report] by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] for crimes against humanity committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. On Tuesday, Samphan was hospitalized in the Cambodian capital Phnom Phen after he reportedly suffered a stroke [NYT report]. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has additional coverage.

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