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Pol Pot's former right-hand man declared fit for trial in Cambodia

By CNN Staff
March 30, 2013 -- Updated 0534 GMT (1334 HKT)
Nuon, 86, was the right-hand man to Pol Pot and a former Cambodian prime minister. He is accused of murder and torture.
Nuon, 86, was the right-hand man to Pol Pot and a former Cambodian prime minister. He is accused of murder and torture.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leader has been declared fit for trial
  • Nuon Chea was the right-hand man to late Cambodian leader Pol Pot
  • Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people

(CNN) -- The most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leader, Nuon Chea, has been declared fit for trial by a United Nations-backed court in Cambodia, the agency said Friday.

File photo of the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, where 8,000 human skulls sit in a glass case, in Phnom Penh province. One of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge - responsible for killing more than 1 million people -- died Thursday. File photo of the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, where 8,000 human skulls sit in a glass case, in Phnom Penh province. One of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge - responsible for killing more than 1 million people -- died Thursday.
Bloody history of the Khmer Rouge
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Nuon, the right-hand man to late leader Pol Pot and a former Cambodian prime minister, is reportedly 86 years old and is accused of murder and torture. He waived his right to be present in court Friday because of health reasons, including heart disease, the United Nations said.

Earlier this month, former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary died in Phnom Penh at age 87, said the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the U.N.-backed court. He was Pol Pot's brother-in-law and escaped judgment for war crimes.

The communist Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot was blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people through torture, execution, hard labor and starvation from 1975 to 1979.

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