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Pol Pot captured, but where is he?

Pol Pot photo

Cambodian government urges
international tribunal
for 'killing fields' figure

June 21, 1997
Web posted at: 10:24 a.m. EDT (1424 GMT)

Latest developments:

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- As the capture of hated Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was confirmed Saturday, many of his fellow Cambodians called for the execution of the man whose "killing fields" rule in the 1970s led to the deaths of as many as 2 million people.

The Cambodian government announced that Pol Pot had been seized in a remote northern area by a faction of the Khmer Rouge rebel group that turned against him earlier this month. Efforts will be made to put him on trial before an international court, the government said.

While Cambodia does not have the death penalty, some people felt it should apply in Pol Pot's case. "I am so angry with him, I would like to chop him up like he killed so many people," said 40-year-old widow Chay Ky.

"In my opinion Pol Pot must be sentenced to death, but maybe a death sentence would be too easy for him. But for sure he should be kept in prison for the rest of his life," said 55-year-old security guard Teth Chhorn.

Government confirms Pol Pot's capture ...

First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen delivered news of the capture to reporters at a press conference in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

It was the first time both Cambodian leaders, who are engaged in a bitter political feud that has at times turned violent, have told the same story about the former Khmer Rouge leader's fate.

Ranariddh said that Pol Pot had been captured near the Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng, and that Khieu Samphan -- a senior figure in the guerrilla group, reportedly taken hostage by Pol Pot as he fled -- was also in custody.

"This is the end of the Khmer Rouge," Hun Sen told reporters.

Ranariddh photo

...but doesn't say where he is

The two premiers would not say how they had obtained confirmation of the capture or even when it took place.

They also did not elaborate on the precise whereabouts of Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan, nor when they might be brought to Phnom Penh. There was no information about the fate of other key Khmer Rouge leaders.

Pol Pot has not been seen in public since 1980, two years after his overthrow at the hands of an invading Vietnamese army. He was sentenced to death in absentia by a Phnom Penh court soon afterward.

Ranariddh said Pol Pot should be sent to an international tribunal to answer for the excesses of his 1975-79 "killing fields" reign of terror when the radical guerrilla group's name became synonymous with starvation, vicious torture and mass execution.

Khmer Rouge radio, which is under the control of the breakaway faction, announced on Friday in a broadcast from its guerrilla zone that its army captured the 69-year-old Pol Pot the previous day.

The breakaway Khmer Rouge faction which captured Pol Pot would be integrated into government forces after formally surrendering, the two premiers said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 
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