The trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), better known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was packed on Friday (Nov. 16) when the sentence in case oo2/02 was pronounced – Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea were both sentenced to life imprisonment.
Their new life sentences (case 002/02) will merge with the life sentences they got in 2014 (case 002/01).
Presiding judge, Nil Nonn, said that 92 year-old Nuon Chea, former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and 87 year-old Khieu Samphan, former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, were found responsible for the genocide against the Cham and the Vietnamese, forced marriages and rape (nationwide), and purges against Cambodians between April 1975 and January 1979.
The majority of the Cham from Kampong Cham were arrested and later executed. Buddhism was banned and pagodas shut down, hundreds of monks were forcibly defrocked, people were forced to marry strangers against their will.
People from all over the country, laymen and monks, foreigners and nationals, students and civil servants – folks from all walks of life came to Phnom Penh to witness the sentencing.
Morn Mao, 65, travelled from Oddor Meanchey to hear the verdict said, “Justice has finally prevailed. The leaders of the brutal regime cannot avoid punishment.”
The hybrid court (government of Cambodia and the UN) previously sentenced Kaing Guek Eav (Kang Kek Iew), aka Duch, commander of S-21 (Tuol Sleng) to life in prison.
Ieng Sary, former Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs under the Khmer Rouge and his wife Ieng Thirith, former KR Social Affairs Minister, both died while on trial.
Pol Pot was never put to trial because he died in 1998.