Senior Khmer Rouge leaders get life sentences for crimes against humanity

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Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Photo: ECCC

Two former Khmer Rouge senior figures have been found guilty of crimes against humanity and given life imprisonment by the UN backed Cambodia tribunal.

Those jailed were Khieu Samphan, who was the regime's head of state, and Nuon Chea who was the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

In its judgement the trial chamber said the two accused persons participated in a joint criminal enterprise to achieve the common purpose of implementing a rapid socialist revolution by whatever means necessary.

They were found to have committed crimes against humanity including murder, political persecution and forced displacement.

The Trial Chamber found that, as a consequence of these crimes a large number victims suffered immeasurable harm, including physical suffering, economic loss, loss of dignity, psychological trauma and grief arising from the loss of family members or close relations.

The judgement was read by Nill Nonn, President of the trial Chamber.

"The trial chamber finds the accused guilty of the crimes against humanity of extermination, encompassing murder, political persecution and other inhuman acts comprising forced transfer, enforced disappearances and attacks against human dignity committed within the territory of Cambodia between 17 April 1975 and December 1977. The chamber sentences Nuon Chea to life imprisonment. The chamber sentences the accused Khieu Samphan to life imprisonment."

Nearly two million Cambodians are thought to have died during the Khmer Rouge regime which lasted from 1975 to 1979.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.52″

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