A court established as part of an agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, found Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan guilty of crimes against humanity.
Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were jailed for life by the UN backed court which found them responsible for the deaths of up to two million Cambodians, nearly a quarter of the country’s then population, during the “killing field” era between 1975-1979.
The Khmer Rouge was the Communist Party in Cambodia, formed in 1968 as an offshoot of the Vietnam People’s Army from North Vietnam, was the ruling party in the nation from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot.
Once considered the Khmer Rouge’s most powerful leaders after Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea are the last surviving top leaders of the brutal communist regime.
The organization’s attempts at agricultural reform led to widespread famine, while its insistence on absolute self-sufficiency, even in the supply of medicine, led to the death of thousands from treatable diseases such as malaria.
Arbitrary executions and torture carried out by its cadres against perceived subversive elements, or during purges of its own ranks between 1975 and 1978, are considered to have constituted genocide.
A year after the monarchy was restored in 1993, thousands of Khmer Rouge guerrillas surrendered themselves in a government amnesty.
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