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Nuon Chea cremated in Pailin province

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Nuon Chea died on August 4 at the age of 93. KT/Siv Channa

The body of Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea was cremated on Friday.

Mr Chea, former deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, died on August 4 at the age of 93 at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh.

He had been serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. A funeral was held in Pailin province for about one week before he was cremated.

Meak Poeun, a former Khmer Rouge cadre, yesterday said Mr Chea’s body was cremated at about 7.30pm. Former comrades, friends and relatives of Mr Chea were present.

“I came to the cremation ceremony to see his face one last time because we will not be able to see him any more,” Mr Poeun said.

An estimated 1.7 million people died of overwork, starvation, torture, disease and execution during the Khmer Rouge’s brutal rule from 1975 to 1979.

Aside from Mr Chea, the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia has convicted two other people: S-21 head Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, and former head of state Khieu Samphan.

Mr Chea’s death has raised the question of whether Cambodians have received justice.

“While no one should doubt the importance of prosecuting Nuon Chea for his crimes, justice for Khmer Rouge atrocities should not have ended with the conviction of a handful of leaders,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said last week.

The Japanese and French – co-chairs of the ECCC’s friends group – also issued a statement.

“More than ever, it is urgent that every stakeholder of the ECCC fulfils its responsibility so that the trial of the remaining co-accused proceed in a fair, efficient and expeditious manner and that overdue justice be realised in Cambodia,” they said.

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