Khmer Rouge chief sets up splinter group

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The Independent Online
One of the senior leaders of Cambodia's genocidal Khmer Rouge government has confirmed he has established a movement to rival the Khmer Rouge guerrillas led by Pol Pot. A statement written by Ieng Sary also confirms he intends to seek reconciliation with the Cambodian government which is split over his attempts to regain a legitimate political role.

Ieng Sary says he has decided to break with "the dictatorial group" led by Pol Pot and claims that Cambodia "will be reduced to nothing if the Khmer [Cambodian] people continue to fight each other indefinitely".

Most of the international media insists on describing Ieng Sary as "Brother No 2", or second in command to Pol Pot, but as he pointed out in an interview with the Bangkok Post on Monday, this is "a gross mistake". He identified Brother No 2 as being Nuon Chea, the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who he said was responsible for the rounding up and killing of intellectuals and diplomats lured back to Cambodia during Khmer Rouge rule from 1975-78.

Authoritative independent sources confirm Ieng Sary was not the second in command but, as deputy prime minister, foreign minister and Pol Pot's brother-in-law, he was part of the inner circle which planned and executed the genocidal policies destroying around a fifth of Cambodia's population.

It is for this reason that he was sentenced to death for genocide and that his political rehabilitation is strongly opposed by King Norodom Sihanouk. However the king's son, the first Prime Minister Ranaridh Sihanouk, and the powerful second Prime Minister Hun Sen, seem determined to bring Ieng Sary back into the fold.

They see this as aiding the disintegration of the Khmer Rouge and hope that Ieng Sary and his followers will bring support and resources to the beleaguered regime and help defeat the democratic opposition forces.

In his Bangkok Post interview Ieng Sary spoke of a secret committee, of which he was not part, that was responsible for the arrest, torture and execution of so-called enemies of the regime. The Khmer Rouge says Ieng Sary is little more than a common criminal, having embezzled up to $25m (pounds 16.5m) from the party's coffers.