Two more Khmer Rouge leaders to face genocide charges


PHNOM PENH - At least two more senior leaders detained at the Khmer Rouge tribunal will be charged with genocide, officials said Wednesday.

Nuon Chea, who was former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot’s lieutenant and an influential ideologue, and former foreign minister Ieng Sary are to be charged with the crime in their upcoming trials.

Both already face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Two other former officials of the radical regime, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith, will have similar hearings in coming weeks, court officials said. Defence lawyers said Wednesday the two are also expected to be charged with genocide.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal, known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, earlier this month completed hearing the case against Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge torture centre in Phnom Penh known as S-21.

Acting international co-prosecutor William Smith was widely seen as having done a good job, particularly in the trial’s final week when the defence imploded and fielded two opposing arguments before the court.

The trial took 77 days of hearings. Duch was tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as crimes under Cambodian law, and will be sentenced early next year. At least 15,000 people were tortured and executed at S-21.

The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia between 1975-79. Up to two million people are thought to have died during that time from execution, starvation and overwork. Pol Pot died in 1998.

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