Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

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.” 

Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, left, and "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia as their verdicts were delivered on Thursday morning. (Mark Peters/ECCC)
Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, left, and “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia as their verdicts were delivered on Thursday morning. (Mark Peters/ECCC)

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.”

Soum Rithy, center, who lost his father and three siblings during the Khmer Rouge regime, breaks out in tears and hugs another survivor after the verdict was delivered in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders Thursday morning. (Reuters)
Soum Rithy, center, who lost his father and three siblings during the Khmer Rouge regime, breaks out in tears and hugs another survivor after the verdict was delivered in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders Thursday morning. (Reuters)

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.”

Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, left, and ''Brother Number Two'' Nuon Chea are shown on a television screen Thursday outside the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. (Reuters)
Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, left, and ”Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea are shown on a television screen Thursday outside the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. (Reuters)

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