Last Khmer Rouge leader finally sentenced to life in prison | NOW

Last Khmer Rouge leader finally sentenced to life in prison | NOW
Last Khmer Rouge leader finally sentenced to life in prison | NOW

The last leader of the Khmer Rouge, Khieu Samphan, has been sentenced on appeal to life in prison by the Cambodian Tribunal. The man is now 91 years old and has been convicted of the genocide in Cambodia in the 1970s.

Samphan was sentenced to life in prison in 2018 for his role during the dictatorial rule of Pol Pot (1975-1979). He was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. On appeal, only a few convictions for specific murders have been overturned.

The elderly Samphan listened to the judge’s verdict in a wheelchair. Survivors of the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge and relatives were also present in the room.

Samphan was Cambodia’s head of state during Prime Minister Pol Pot’s brutal communist regime. His ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge, the military wing of the party, wanted to build an agrarian society and deported people to the countryside. In those four years, two million people – a quarter of the population – died from hunger, torture, forced labor and mass executions.

Samphan’s conviction was the latest ruling by the International Criminal Tribunal for Cambodia, which is supported by the United Nations. It ultimately prosecuted five leaders, two of whom died in the process. Pol Pot has never been held accountable for his actions. He died in 1998, before the court was set up.

The article is in Dutch

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