Phnom Penh (dpa) – Cambodia’s former Khmer Rouge leaders were on
trial Monday for the regime’s alleged genocide of a local Muslim
ethnic group while in power 1975-79.
Witness testimonies were due in the second part of the trial against
former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, for alleged
crimes in the later part of the regime’s rule.
The first part concluded in August 2014, when the two defendants were
convicted of crimes against humanity in the early days of the regime,
including the deadly evacuation of Phnom Penh.
Khieu Samphan, 84, served as head of state of Democratic Kampuchea as
Cambodia was then known. Nuon Chea, 89, known as “Brother Number
Two,” was deputy secretary of the Communist Party.
The UN-backed tribunal alleges they are personally responsible for
the actions of the radical regime.
The Khmer Rouge initially forced the ethnic Cham Muslim minority to
abandon their culture and integrate, and then from 1977 began
rounding them up and killing them.
Approximately 36 per cent of Chams in Cambodia died during the
four-year rule, compared to 18.7 per cent of the majority Khmer
The second part of the trial will also hear evidence of crimes
relating to the treatment of Buddhists, forced marriage and rape, and
also several torture and detention centres across Cambodia.