Two 'Khmer Rouge' leaders jailed for crimes against humanity

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Over three decades after they unleashed one of the deadliest political genocide in the post world war world, two of the top level 'Khmer Rouge' leaders (only ones in history) have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia.

Key Details

  • The verdict concludes a two-year long trial of Nuon Chea, 2nd in command after Pol Pot, and former head of state Khieu Samphan.
  • They as senior-most officials in ultra-leftist Khmer Rouge regime, presided over the carnage of over two million inhabitants, a quarter of country's population, during the 1975-1979 period.
  • They have been convicted on the account of extermination, persecution and crimes against humanity.

Background

  • The ultra leftist regime, backed by China, wanted to impose an extreme form of agrarian socialism in Cambodia.
  • The government forced entire urban population to relocate to the countryside and coerced them to toil hard in farms and other labor projects. 
  • This led to a complete economic collapse ensuing a human disaster of a kind. 
  • The senseless and brutal campaign also exterminated any voice of resistance it found, almost all of intellectual class was wiped out.
  • Others succumbed to the hardships arising out of extreme working conditions, malnutrition, and poor medical care.

The Supreme Leader

  • The Pol Pot, born as Saloth Sar, was the supreme leader of the radical government.
  • His 4 year reign of terror was ended by the Cambodian–Vietnamese War in 1979 which led to collapse of his government.
  • He spent rest of his life in wilderness before meeting his death in 1998.
  • Its a shame he could not be tried by any international tribunal.
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