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Last Khmer Rouge leaders guilty of genocide, get life terms
2018-11-16 09:40:18

The last surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge that brutally ruled Cambodia in the 1970s were convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes Friday by an international tribunal, the Associated Press reports. 

Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were sentenced to life in prison, the same sentence they are already serving after earlier convictions at a previous trial for crimes against humanity connected with forced transfers and mass disappearances of people. Cambodia has no death penalty.

Nuon Chea, 92, was Pol Pot's deputy, and Khieu Samphan, 87, was the Cambodian regime's head of state.

They were on trial at the UN-backed tribunal on charges of genocide against Cham Muslims and ethnic Vietnamese.

The guilty verdict is the first official acknowledgement that what the regime did was in fact genocide as defined under international law.

The crimes against humanity convictions covered activities at work camps and cooperatives established by the Khmer Rouge. These offenses comprised murder, extermination, deportation, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, religious and racial grounds, attacks on human dignity, enforced disappeances, forced transfers, forced marriages and rape.

The breaches of the Geneva Convention governing war crimes included willful killing, torture or inhumane treatment.