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Cambodia: the last living Khmer Rouge dignitary sentenced, final decision of the special court

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Published on: 09/22/2022 – 10:30 The special tribunal responsible for judging the Khmer Rouge for their atrocities, for its final decision, confirmed on appeal on Thursday the sentence of life imprisonment for Khieu Samphan, the last living dignitary , for genocide. The Court is due to dissolve in 2025, after completing its archival work. A final condemnation before the dissolution. The special court responsible for judging the Khmer Rouge confirmed on appeal in its final decision, Thursday, September 22, the life sentence for Khieu Samphan. The 91-year-old former head of state of Democratic Kampuchea, has was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity – murder, enslavement, forced marriages, rape – and serious violations of the Geneva conventions. Khieu Samphan “had direct knowledge of the crimes and he shared the intention to commit them along with the other participants in the joint criminal enterprise” which killed nearly two million people between 1975 and 1979, Judge Kong Srim recalled. The charges against him are associated with “some of the most heinous acts” of the ultra-Maoist dictatorship, insisted the President of the Chamber of the Supreme Court. Khieu Samphan attended the judgment, in court, on his wheelchair, listening to the two and a half hour pronouncement through an audio headset. He has already been sentenced to life in 2014 – verdict confirmed on appeal in 2016 – for crimes against humanity committed during the forced evacuation of the inhabitants of Phnom Penh, in the first part of his river trial, started in 2011 .>> See also, our interview: Rithy Panh: “I live with my dead” Nearly 500 people, including families of victims, Buddhist monks and diplomats, attended the hearing, a “historic day” According to the Court’s spokesman, Neth Pheaktra.Third Khmer Rouge dignitary sentenced “I am happy to be here to listen to the verdict. I demand justice for all the victims because they have suffered so much. The regime of Pol Pot was so brutal,” You Soeun, 67, who lost his brother during the Khmer Rouge era, told AFP. Khieu Samphan, one of the few public faces of the regime, has always denied his involvement in the charges against him, in particular in the genocide against the Vietnamese “The Supreme Court Chamber finds no merit in Khieu Samphan’s arguments about the genocide, and rejects them,” said Kong Srim. , of the Khmers by the Khmers who are not considered by the United Nations as genocide. Khieu Samphan is the third Khmer Rouge dignitary to be condemned by this Special Court, composed of Cambodian and international magistrates. Kaing Guek Eav, alias Douch, has was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The former torturer, head of the most fearsome detention center in the country at the time, S21, died in 2020, at the age of 77. Dissolution of a Court which caused several controversiesJudges imposed the same sentence on Nuon Chea, the ideologue of the movement, for genocide, against Vietnamese and Cham Muslims, and crimes against humanity. He died in August 2019 at the age of 93. “Brother number one”, Pol Pot, died in 1998, without being judged. The Extraordinary Chambers within the Cambodian Courts (ECCC) are now preparing to close their doors without having dispelled the controversies that have undermined them from the start. , Hun Sen, who spoke out against any new trial in the name of national stability. Its cost, more than 330 million dollars, compared to the number of convictions, also fueled suspicions. But the judges managed to “revitalize the process of national reconciliation”, nuance with AFP Craig Etcheson, an expert on the country who testified at one of the trials. Public participation, numerous testimonies… “In sixteen years, there has been enormous progress”, he explains. Its operation must serve as “a model for prosecuting serious crimes and massacres in the future at the international level “, affirmed Bin Chhin, deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, in a press conference given at the end of the pronouncement. .With AFP

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