Khmer Rouge tribunal to hear testimony on Muslim genocide

2015-09-07 16:59
A tourist takes picture of skulls of victims killed by the Khmer Rouge regime at the Choeung Ek killing fields memorial in Phnom Penh. (AFP)

A tourist takes picture of skulls of victims killed by the Khmer Rouge regime at the Choeung Ek killing fields memorial in Phnom Penh. (AFP)

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Phnom Penh - Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge leaders were on trial on Monday for the regime's alleged genocide of a local Muslim ethnic group while in power 1975-79.

Witness testimonies were due in the second part of the trial against former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, for alleged crimes in the later part of the regime's rule.

The first part concluded in August 2014, when the two defendants were convicted of crimes against humanity in the early days of the regime, including the deadly evacuation of Phnom Penh.

Khieu Samphan, aged 84, served as head of state of Democratic Kampuchea as Cambodia was then known. Nuon Chea, aged 89, known as "Brother Number Two," was deputy secretary of the Communist Party.  The UN-backed tribunal alleges they are personally responsible for the actions of the radical regime.

The Khmer Rouge initially forced the ethnic Cham Muslim minority to abandon their culture and integrate, and then from 1977 began rounding them up and killing them.

Approximately 36% of Chams in Cambodia died during the four-year rule, compared to 18.7% of the majority Khmer population.

The second part of the trial will also hear evidence of crimes relating to the treatment of Buddhists, forced marriage and rape, and also several torture and detention centres across Cambodia.

Read more on:    cambodia  |  khmer rouge trial

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