The Khmer Rouge’s “Brother Number 2” Nuon Chea and its former head of state Khieu Samphan were on Thursday found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison by a panel of judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.
In front of a courtroom packed with civil parties, regime survivors, government officials and diplomats, Nuon Chea, 88, and Khieu Samphan, 83, were each brought to bear for crimes that Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn said left people living in “a state of terror…unwilling to question orders.”
They were found guilty of criminal responsibility for the evacuation of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, the forced movement of people in two distinct phases and the execution of Lon Nol soldiers and officials at a desolate site in Pursat province called Toul Po Chrey.
Unable to stand to be judged, Nuon Chea was told he had been found “guilty of crimes against humanity encompassing murder, political persecution and other inhumane acts, comprising forced transfer and forced disappearances and attacks against human dignity committed in the territory of Cambodia between April 17, 1975 and December of 1977.”
Khieu Samphan, who stood to receive his verdict, was told he too was “guilty of crimes against humanity, of extermination encompassing murder, political persecution and other inhumane acts, conspiring forced transfer, forced disappearances, attacks against human dignity committed in the territory of Cambodia between April 17, 1975 and December 1977.”
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