Sky News | Published: November 16, 2018
The last surviving Khmer Rouge leaders are guilty of genocide for their part in the 1975-1979 reign of terror in Cambodia.
Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea in court
The last surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge that brutally ruled Cambodia have been convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by an international tribunal.
Nuon Chea, 92, and Khieu Samphan, 87, are the first Khmer Rouge officials to be found guilty of genocide and have been sentenced to life in prison.
They are already serving life terms after earlier convictions at a previous trial for crimes against humanity connected with forced the transfers and mass disappearances of people.
The two have suggested they were targets of political persecution.
The verdict read aloud in the courtroom by Judge Nil Nonn established that the Khmer Rouge committed genocide against the Vietnamese and Cham minorities during the regime’s 1975-1979 reign of terror.
Khieu Samphan and his co-defendant say they are targets of political persecution
Scholars had debated whether suppression of the Chams, a Muslim ethnic group whose members had put up a small but futile resistance against the Khmer Rouge, amounted to genocide.
The court found Khieu Samphan not guilty of genocide against the Chams, for lack of evidence, though he was found guilty of genocide against the Vietnamese under the principle of joint command responsibility.
The crimes against humanity convictions covered activities at work camps and cooperatives that were established by the Khmer Rouge.