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Prosecutors urge second life sentence for Khmer Rouge leaders

Cheang Sokha / Khmer Times Share:
Nuon Chea, along with Khieu Samphan, were the public faces of the Khmer Rouge. ECCC

Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have requested the trial chamber sentence the two surviving leaders of the regime to life imprisonment in Case 002/02.
Closing arguments in the trial against 91-year-old Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two, and 86-year-old former head of state Khieu Samphan will start on June 13 and conclude on June 22.
National co-prosecutor Chea Leang and international co-prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian recommended life sentences based on the severity of the Khmer Rouge’s crimes.
Mr Chea and Mr Samphan were the public faces of the regime and had searched for ways to evade responsibility for their crimes, they said.
“Mr Chea claimed that killing outside the judicial power is needed to protect the country from foreign enemies, so it’s the right thing. Mr Samphan claimed that he did not know what was happening to the Cambodian people, adding that he had no power to act in these crimes.” the prosecutors said.  
Mr Chea and Mr Samphan were found guilty of crimes against humanity related to the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in Case 002/01 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In Case 002/02, Mr Chea and Mr Samphan face charges of genocide against the Cham ethnic minority and the Vietnamese, forced marriages and rape as well as internal purges, among others.
Mr Samphan’s lawyer Kong Sam Onn argued that evidence against his client is groundless, because some of the allegations relate to crimes that did not happen between 1975 and 1979.
“It is meaningless to sentence them to life imprisonment again because they have already been convicted in the previous case,” he said.
Case 002 against Mr Chea and Mr Samphan was split into a series of smaller trials, Case 002/01 and Case 002/02, in a bid to deliver timely justice.

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