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Khmer Rouge leader denies charges of genocide

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October 30, 2013 11:00 PM EST | AP


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea has denied all charges against him on the last day of a trial for leaders of the Cambodian regime widely blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people.

The ailing 87-year-old Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist, and 82-year-old Khieu Samphan, its head of state, are charged by the Khmer Rouge tribunal with genocide and crimes against humanity. The charges include torture, enslavement and murder for their roles in the radical communist regime nearly 40 years ago.

A verdict is expected in the first half of 2014, more than two years after the trial began.

Khieu Samphan is expected to deny charges later Thursday.

Deaths due to execution, disease, torture and starvation were widespread during the Khmer Rouge's brutal rule in the 1970s.