Pol Pot's Death: No Smoking Gun

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It’s official: Pol Pot did not suffer the fate of his 1.7 million victims. That is, there are no outward signs that he was murdered by his compadres in the Khmer Rouge. A Thai military team examined the body of the late despot Friday in a remote north Cambodian village, and declared him free of gunshot wounds, bruises or other evidence of foul play. Next step: Sending the doctors in, to determine if he really died of a heart attack as the guerilla leaders say.

But if Ta Mok et al thought this would let them off the hook, they were sadly mistaken. President Clinton pledged Thursday to hold the other Khmer Rouge leaders accountable for the 1975-79 genocide -- which, if all goes well, will mean the same kind of international tribunal intended for Pol Pot. More importantly, Cambodian government forces are closing in. “We will persuade whoever can be persuaded to defect,” said Khieu Kanharith, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh regieme that already includes a number of Khmer Rouge turncoats. “But Ta Mok, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, as well as Pol Pot, must be brought to trial.” With luck, they’ll be alive.