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Prosecutors seek life imprisonment for Khmer Rouge leaders

IANS  |  Bangkok 

Prosecutors at the trial in Cambodia on Thursday sought life imprisonment for the last two surviving top leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime over charges of genocide, rape and

Prosecutors of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, backed by the UN, presented their closing arguments against Nuon Chea, 90, the second-in-command and chief ideologist of the Khmer Rouge, and the former head of State, Khieu Samphan, 85.

The leaders have been charged with genocide against the Cham Muslim minority and the Vietnamese population and over their policy of forced marriages and rapes, reports Efe news.

Next week will be the defence's turn to present its closing arguments, with June 23 being the last day for closing statements.

The two former leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment in an earlier trial.

The court had divided the trial into two phases, due to the complexity of the charges and fears that the two leaders, who are in poor health, would die before the verdict is delivered.

The first phase of the trial had addressed accusations that included forced evacuation of Phnom Penh, deportation of the urban population to labour camps in rural areas and execution of Republican soldiers by the Khmer Rouge after it came to power.

The trial, which began in 2011, had included two more accused, Leng Sary, the former Foreign Minister of the Khmer Rouge, who died in March 2013 aged 87 years, and his wife and former Minister of Social Affairs Leng Thirith, who died in 2015, aged 83 years.

The leader of the Khmer Rouge regime, Pol Pot, died in 1998 in the last stronghold of the Maoist guerrillas in the forest of northern Cambodia.

The international court passed its first sentence in 2010 against Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch, who managed the detention and torture of around 12,000 people in the S-21 prison.

Duch was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison but the judgement was later changed to life imprisonment.

About 1.7 million people died from starvation, illness and execution during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.



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First Published: Thu, June 15 2017. 20:52 IST