News / Asia

Genocide Trial Begins for Aging Khmer Rouge Leaders

Cambodians line up at a court entrance before a hearing to prepare for the genocide trial of two surviving leaders Khieu Samphan and Noun Chea, at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 30, 2014.
Cambodians line up at a court entrance before a hearing to prepare for the genocide trial of two surviving leaders Khieu Samphan and Noun Chea, at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 30, 2014.
VOA News

A United Nations-backed tribunal has begun the second trial of the two surviving senior members of the Khmer Rouge.

Ex-head of state Khieu Samphan and chief ideologue Nuon Chea face genocide charges at the trial that began Wednesday in Phnom Penh.

The two aging leaders are already set to be sentenced on August 7 after being tried for crimes against humanity in the first trial that ended last year.

IKhieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 30, 2014.IKhieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 30, 2014.
x
IKhieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 30, 2014.
IKhieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in the court room during a hearing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 30, 2014.

At the hearing Wednesday, Khieu Samphan appeared to be in good health, taking notes alongside his defense team. Nuon Chea did not attend.

The second trial will focus on the mass killings of hundreds of thousands of Cambodia's Vietnamese and Cham Muslim ethnic minorities.

Simach Smam, a Cham Muslim who survived the Khmer Rouge's 1975-1979 rule, was one of those attending the hearing.

"They killed many Muslim people. They cooked pork and told us to eat it. If we didn't eat it, we would be killed. They would also kill us if they saw us praying to Allah. I am so full of anger," he said.

Millions died

As many as 2 million Cambodians died during the four-year rule of the Khmer Rouge, which attempted to create a socialist utopia.

The first trial dealt with forced evacuations and the mass execution of soldiers during a civil war that lasted from 1970 until 1975, when the Khmer Rouge came to power.

The case was split into smaller trials in an attempt to deliver justice before the death of the Khmer Rouge leaders, who are in their 80s.

Lars Olsen, a court spokesman, said it is important that all Khmer Rouge victims get the chance to testify about their experiences.

"Together with the first trial, I believe the second one is necessary to get the representative picture about what really went on from 1975 to 1979. So it is very significant that all the range of criminal accusations will be addressed," Olsen said.

Former Khmer Rouge foreign secretary Ieng Sary died last year at age 87. His wife, Ieng Thirith, was later found mentally unfit for trial and released. Both had been defendants at the first trial, alongside Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as "Duch," is the only person convicted by the tribunal so far. He was sentenced to life in prison for his role in killing more than 14,000 people while running the Tuol Sleng torture and execution center in Phnom Penh.

The group's leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
July 30, 2014 3:52 AM
Many Vietnamese troops sacrified their lives to liberate Cambodia from one of the most bloody regime in history. But what Vietnam recieved from their sacrification? Sactions and isolation from the West, who tried to support the Khmer Rough against Vietnam.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs