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Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide in landmark ruling 40 years

Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide in landmark ruling 40 years

The Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan found guilty of genocide in Cambodia from 1975-1979 when he and his colleagues were the members of the ultra-Maoist group that seized control of the country, BBC reported on Friday.

The 87-year-old Khieu Samphan was known as “Brother Number 1” in Kampuchea where he and Nuon Chea have been seized control in the 70s. Both former leaders are found guilty of genocide during the period of their running the country. The 92-year-old Chea is one the most senior living members of the ultra-Maoist group. These two men are already serving life sentences but the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has announced its verdict only today- the list of Khmer Rouge leaders’ crimes was too long.

“The chamber finds that Nuon Chea exercised ultimate decision-making power with Pol Pot and… therefore finds Nuon Chea is responsible as a superior for all the crimes,” presiding judge Nil Nonn said after the investigation, which proved that up to two million people are believed to have died under the brief but systematically brutal Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979.

“This includes the crime of genocide by killing members of Cham ethnic and religious group,” judge Nonn said and added that Khieu Samphan was also found guilty of genocide against ethnic Vietnamese, though not against the Cham.

The Khmer Rouge’s crimes have long been referred to as the “Cambodian genocide”, but academics and journalists have debated for years as to whether what they did amounts to that crime.