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Cambodia's Khmer Rouge committed 'genocide', court says in historic ruling

( November 16, 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)The two most senior Khmer Rouge leaders still alive today have been found guilty of genocide, almost 40 years since Pol Pot’s brutal communist regime fell in a verdict that nonetheless holds meaning for millions of Cambodians.

Nuon Chea, 92, who was second-in-command to Pol Pot, and Khieu Samphan, 87, who served as head of state, will both be sentenced for genocide carried out between 1977 and 1979, in what is a landmark moment for the Khmer Rouge tribunals.

The pair are already serving life sentences for crimes against humanity.

David Scheffer, who was UN secretary general’s special expert on assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials and the former US ambassador at large for war crimes issues, described the genocide verdict as “very significant”. “This is comparable, in Cambodia, to the Nuremberg judgment after world war two,” Scheffer told the Guardian. “That is worth the money and effort.”

On Friday morning the courtroom in the capital of Phnom Penh was packed with families of some of the 1.7 million Cambodians who died between 1975 and 1979, through a combinations of mass executions, starvation and brutal labour camps, in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.

Read more on Guardian UK

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