Ex-Khmer Rouge commander Nuon Paet, arrested Saturday on charges of the 1994 abduction and murder of three Western backpackers, told police he did not order the executions, a municipal police official revealed Thursday.
Nuon Paet, who was arrested in Phnom Penh during an undercover police sting, is being held under heavy guard at the capital’s T3 prison.
Prosecutors are preparing their case against him on kidnapping and murder charges, but no trial date has been set.
Colonel Ek Kreth, a top municipal police officer, said Nuon Paet denied a role in the murders during an “unofficial” conversation on Saturday while authorities moved him from PJ prison to T3.
“When we asked Nuon Paet about his order to kill the three foreign hostages, he said he did not do it,” Ek Kreth said. “He said, ‘I did not order that the three hostages be killed. Some of my cadres ordered the killings.’”
Nuon Paet also denied he was in Phnom Penh in July 1997 assisting fighters loyal to Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ek Kreth said.
Khmer Rouge soldiers under Nuon Paet’s command abducted Australian David Wilson, Briton Mark Slater and Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet during an ambush on a train in Kampot in southern Cambodia in July 1994.