An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died from starvation, exhaustion, disease and execution during the Khmer Rouge regime
(PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA) — A U.N.-backed Cambodian tribunal has begun hearing the first genocide case against the country’s brutal 1970s Khmer Rouge regime.
Khieu Samphan, the regime’s head of state, and Nuon Chea, right-hand man to the goup’s late leader, Pol Pot, have already received life sentences in August after being found guilty of charges including crimes against humanity.
They are now facing separate charges of genocide related mostly to the group’s forced movement of millions of people to the countryside when it took power in 1975. The radical policies are blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians from starvation, exhaustion, disease and execution.
Both men have appealed their convictions.
On Friday, the prosecution began opening arguments in the genocide trial.