Monday, October 21, 2013
Life sentences sought for Cambodia's Khmer Rouge leaders
Prosecutors at the UN-backed war crimes court in Cambodia have demanded the maximum sentence of life imprisonment for two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.
'Brother Number Two' Nuon Chea, the regime's chief ideologist, and Khieu Samphan, its head of state, are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for planning and implementing the group's policies in the 1970s that left up to two million people dead.
Prosecutor Chea Leang says life in prison is "the only punishment that they deserve".
"On behalf of the Cambodian people and the international community we ask you for justice... for the victims who perished and justice for the victims who survived today who had to live through such a vicious and cruel regime under the leadership of these two accused and other leaders," she said.
Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the communist regime is widely blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people - nearly a quarter of the population - through starvation, overwork and execution between 1975-79.
Mr Smith says the Khmer Rouge leaders "implemented their criminal program with utter brutality".
"They decided on who lived and who died," he said.
Nuon Chea, 87, and Khieu Samphan, 82, deny the accusations, saying they were not aware of the atrocities committed under the regime.
However Mr Smith says Nuon Chea was "a man willing to kill even his own relatives and revolutionary brothers".
He says Khieu Samphan was also "very involved in crimes".
"The accused were certainly aware of the inhumane conditions faced by the evacuees sent out of the city into the countryside," Mr Smith said.
More than three decades after the country's 'Killing Fields' era, the UN-backed court is moving closer to a verdict in their complex case, which has been split into a series of smaller trials.
Closing statements are scheduled to be completed by the end of the month, with a verdict expected in the first half of next year.
Source: Australia Network News, October 21, 2013
Posted by Jendhamuni at 7:32 PM