Phnom Penh: The former deputy leader of the
Khmer Rouge told Cambodia`s UN-backed war crimes court Wednesday
that he was never called "Brother Number Two", a nickname he
said was "too big" for him.
Giving evidence at his landmark atrocities trial,
alongside two other senior members of the brutal 1970s regime,
Nuon Chea said there "was no such thing" as a hierarchy
numbering system within the Khmer Rouge.
"I am not `Brother Number Two`," the 85-year-old said,
though he admitted he was the deputy secretary of the party
and "one step below" leader Pol Pot - who died in 1998 and was
widely known as "Brother Number One".
The hardline communist Khmer Rouge emptied cities,
abolished money and religion and wiped out nearly a quarter of
the population through starvation, overwork or execution in a
bid to create an agrarian utopia.
Nuon Chea, ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary and ex-head of
state Khieu Samphan all deny charges of war crimes, genocide
and crimes against humanity for their roles in a regime blamed
for the deaths of up to two million people.
The trio`s long-awaited trial is seen as vital to
healing wounds in the still-traumatized nation and hundreds of
Cambodians again packed the public gallery to see Nuon Chea,
wearing a a black jumper and jacket, take the stand.
"So `Brother Number Two` to me seems too big for me,"
the elderly defendant said. "I have never used `Brother Number
Two` and in the party no one called me `Brother Number Two` at