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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Life sentences for the Khmer Rouge regime last surviving senior leaders

Life sentences for crimes against humanity

Share on Facebook August 7, 2014, Reporter : DW, Reader : 658

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A UN-backed trial in Cambodia has handed down life sentences for crimes against humanity against two surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. DW correspondent Abby Seiff was in Phnom Penh to capture the emotional reaction to the verdict.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday handed down life sentences to two of the regime's most senior leaders, calling the crimes the cause of "immeasurable harm."

Brother Number Two, Nuon Chea, 88, and Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, 83, were found guilty on charges of crimes against humanity for their role in the forced evacuation of millions and a mass execution of enemy soldiers.

Reading the verdict out, chief judge Nil Nonn called the sentences reflective of the grave nature of the crimes.

"There was a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Cambodia… this attack victimized millions of civilians throughout Cambodia."

Over the course of an hour-and-a-half, Judge Nonn detailed the litany of crimes against humanity covered in the case, including murder, extermination, political persecution, and inhuman acts.

In a second case set to begin in September or October, the pair will face charges related to genocide, rape, forced marriage, purges and a slew of other crimes.

'Killing Fields'

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died of starvation, exhaustion and execution, during the regime's three years, eight months and 20 days in power.

After taking over Phnom Penh in April 1975, the Khmer Rouge sought to install a Maoist-inspired agrarian society by forcing millions into forced labor. To create its collectives and dissolve any sense of ownership or family ties, the regime moved virtually the entire population from their homes to elsewhere.> more...

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