Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

Asia-pacific

UN-backed tribunal indicts four Khmer Rouge leaders

Video by Jade BARKER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-16

Four former Khmer Rouge leaders were indicted Thursday for genocide by Cambodia's UN-backed tribunal, paving the way for another trial surrounding the hardline Communist regime after the conviction in July of former prison chief Duch.

AFP - Four top Khmer Rouge leaders will stand trial for crimes including genocide during the "Killing Fields" era, Cambodia's UN-backed court said Thursday, just weeks after its landmark first conviction.

"Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, who served as deputy to Khmer Rouge founder Pol Pot, was formally indicted along with former foreign minister Ieng Sary, social affairs minister Ieng Thirith and head of state Khieu Samphan.

Judge You Bunleng hailed the decision as a success for the tribunal, listing a litany of charges against the top members of the blood-soaked regime, including crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Marxist regime emptied the cities and abolished money and schools in the late 1970s in a bid to create an agrarian utopia, wiping out nearly a quarter of the country's population before they were ousted from the capital by Vietnamese forces.

The trial, expected to begin in early 2011, will be the court's second, following the historic sentencing of former prison chief Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, in July for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The 67-year-old was given a jail term of 30 years for his role overseeing the executions of an estimated 15,000 men, women and children, but could walk free in 19 years given time already served, to the dismay of survivors.

The four newly indicted leaders have been in detention since their arrests in 2007 in connection with the regime's bloody rule over Cambodia from 1975-79, when up to two million people died from starvation, overwork or execution.

The genocide charges relate specifically to the deaths of Vietnamese people and ethnic Cham Muslims under the regime.

Estimates for the number of Cham who died under the Khmer Rouge range from 100,000 to 400,000, but it is not known how many Vietnamese were killed.

The upcoming trial is expected to be a lengthy and complex one with all four leaders disputing the charges against them.

However, in the 2009 documentary "Enemies of the People", Nuon Chea -- the movement's chief ideologue -- admits the regime killed perceived traitors if they could not be "re-educated" or "corrected".

"These people were categorised as criminals.... They were killed and destroyed. If we had let them live, the party line would have been hijacked. They were enemies of the people," said Nuon Chea, now 84.

Ieng Sary, or "Brother Number Three", acted as the public face of the secretive regime. Since his arrest by the UN tribunal, the 84-year-old's health has deteriorated significantly.

His wife, Ieng Thirith, now 78, is sometimes described as the "First Lady" of the Khmer Rouge. Her sister was married to Pol Pot.

She blames Nuon Chea for the crimes committed by the hardline communist government, and in a furious outburst last year told members of the court they would be "cursed to the seventh circle of hell".

The final defendant Khieu Samphan, 79, served as head of state and was one of the reclusive regime's few diplomats who had contact with the outside world.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the indictments were "very good news for the people of Cambodia."

"It's what they've been waiting for for more than 30 years," he told AFP outside the court. "The indictments can be part of the healing process for the victims."

The tribunal may be the last chance to find justice for victims since many top regime figures are now either dead or in ailing health. The judges said they were doing everything possible to monitor the four on a daily basis.

The court is also investigating whether to open more cases against five other former Khmer Rouge cadres, but faces political and financial pressures.

Prime Minister Hun Sen -- himself a mid-level Khmer Rouge cadre before turning against the movement -- said last year he would "prefer for this court to fail" than see new cases opened, saying further trials could drive the country back to civil war.

Frenchman Marcel Lemonde, one of the tribunal's two co-investigating judges, announced Thursday he was quitting to focus on other projects. He will be replaced by German Siegfried Blunk.

Date created : 2010-09-16

  • CAMBODIA

    Khmer Rouge jailor Duch appeals war crimes conviction

    Read more

  • CAMBODIA

    Prosecutors seek longer jail term for Khmer Rouge prison chief

    Read more

  • CAMBODIA

    Life under the Khmer Rouge

    Read more

COMMENT(S)