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Prosecutors Give Summation at Trial of Khmer Rouge Leaders

FILE - Khieu Samphan, center, former Khmer Rouge head of state, sits in a court room of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, in Phnom Penh, Jan. 8, 2015.

Prosecutors at the trial in Cambodia of the surviving top leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime have begun summing up their case, declaring that, despite the defendants' denials, the evidence clearly showed they knew of the suffering and deaths of their countrymen.

Khieu Samphan, the regime's 85-year-old former head of state, and 90-year-old Nuon Chea, right-hand man to the group's late leader, Pol Pot, are being tried on charges including genocide, rape and murder. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died during communist group's bloody reign in the late 1970s.

Co-prosecutor Chea Leang on Wednesday described Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge as a “slave state” in which everyone had to work endless hours on massive infrastructure projects or in rice fields, with any attempt at escape punishable by death.