Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger: Top opposition figure to be questioned in baby-trafficking scandal

Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

Asia-pacific

First genocide charges issued against former Khmer Rouge leaders

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-16

The UN-backed court for war crimes in Cambodia has for the first time issued genocide charges against two leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, over the slaughter of Vietnamese people and ethnic Cham Muslims in the 1970s.

AFP - Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court has for the first time issued genocide charges against two leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, a tribunal spokesman said Wednesday.
   
Former Khmer Rouge number two Nuon Chea and foreign minister Ieng Sary were both charged over the hardline communist regime's slaughter of Vietnamese people and ethnic Cham Muslims during the 1970s, spokesman Lars Olsen told AFP.
   

"This week both Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary have been brought before the investigating judges and informed they are being charged with genocide against the Cham Muslims and the Vietnamese," Olsen said.
   
"This is the first time that anyone has been charged with genocide" at the UN-backed tribunal, he added.
   
Estimates for the number of Chams who died under the Khmer Rouge range from 100,000 to 400,000, but it is not known how many Vietnamese were killed, according to Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.
   
The Khmer Rouge murdered up to two million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979 in their blood-soaked drive to establish a communist utopia. But the mass killing does not class as genocide, Olsen said.
   
"It is impossible to say it was an intent to destroy the Khmers. The perpetrators were of the same nationalities as the victims," he said.
   
The United Nations defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".
   
The court said last month that it was investigating Khmer Rouge incursions into Vietnam as well as executions of Vietnamese and Cham minorities within Cambodia.
   
Cham Muslims, who live mainly in central provinces, form 1.6 percent of the population in the predominantly Buddhist country today.
   
Final arguments were heard last month in the case of regime prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, who was charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and premeditated murder in the court's first trial.
   
The verdict is expected early in 2010.
   
Both Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary have already been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
   
They are in detention at the court, awaiting trial in the tribunal's second case along with Ieng Sary's wife, former social affairs minister Ieng Thirith and former head of state Khieu Samphan.
   
Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia's cities and wiped out nearly a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork, torture and execution.
   
The tribunal, created in 2006 after several years of haggling between Cambodia and the UN, has faced accusations of political interference and allegations that local staff were forced to pay kickbacks for their jobs.
   
Cambodian and international prosecutors have openly disagreed whether the court should pursue more suspects, while the Cambodian investigating judge has refused to summon high-ranking government officials as witnesses.

Date created : 2009-12-16

  • CAMBODIA

    Khmer Rouge torturer Duch in surprise plea for release

    Read more

COMMENT(S)