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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs