Cambodia: the last Khmer Rouge dignitary still alive sentenced on appeal to life imprisonment

The special court responsible for judging the Khmer Rouge confirmed on appeal, Thursday, September 22, the life sentence of the last dignitary still alive, Khieu Samphan. The 91-year-old former head of state of Democratic Kampuchea was found guilty of genocide, several crimes against humanity (murder, enslavement, forced marriages, rape) and serious violations of the Geneva.

Khieu Samphan “had direct knowledge of the crimes and he shared the intention to commit them with the other participants in the joint criminal enterprise” which killed nearly two million people between 1975 and 1979, the judge 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 his wheelchair, listening to the two-and-a-half-hour delivery via headphones.

He had already been sentenced to life in 2014 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. Khieu Samphan, who has always denied his involvement in the acts of which he is accused, is the third Khmer Rouge dignitary to be condemned by this special court, made up of Cambodian and international magistrates. Nearly 500 people, including families of victims, Buddhist monks and diplomats, attended the hearing. This was the last decision of the special court before its dissolution.

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