Posted on November 16, 2018
For the first time, two leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia have been found guilty of genocide. Nuon Chea, 92, was the deputy of regime leader Pol Pot, and Khieu Samphan, 87, was head of state. They were on trial at the UN-backed tribunal on charges of exterminating Cham Muslims and ethnic Vietnamese. The guilty verdict is the first official ruling that what the regime did was genocide, as defined under international law. Up to two million people, most of them ethnic Khmer, are believed to have died under the brief but systematically brutal Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. But the BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head says the larger-scale killings of the Cambodian population do not fit the narrow international definition of genocide, and have been prosecuted instead as crimes against humanity.