PHNOM PENH, Cambodia
Two leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime Friday were convicted of committing genocide during the ultra-communist regime’s rule from 1975 to 1979.
Former chief ideologue Nuon Chea, 90, and head of state Khieu Samphan, 85, were sentenced to life in prison in a UN-backed court for crimes against humanity.
In the verdict, they have been found guilty for genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese ethnic groups.
“Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea and the regime’s former head of state, Khieu Samphan, have already been sentenced to life behind bars in 2014.
In the earlier verdict, they had been found criminally responsible for the evacuation of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, a second forced movement of people and the execution of Lon Nol soldiers and officials at a remote, rural site.
The Khmer Rouge swept to power in April 1975, overthrowing the United States-backed Lon Nol regime and instituting a series of brutal policies to turn the country into an agrarian-first regime.
This came at the expense of at least 1.5 million lives, which were lost through work, torture or execution.