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Last of the Khmer Rouge sentenced

Cambodian killing fields

PHNOM PENH: After losing his appeal against a genocide conviction, the last surviving Khmer Rouge leader was moved to a Cambodian state jail to serve two life terms, prosecutors said Wednesday (Feb 1).

Khieu Samphan was given a life sentence and a genocide conviction in 2018 by a court in the monarchy that is supported by the UN.

The 91-year-old served as the chief of state for the homicidal communist government that, in the 1970s, wiped out a fourth of the people of Cambodia in less than four years.

In 2014, the court also sentenced Khieu Samphan and “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea to life in prison for crimes against humanity. Nuon Chea passed away in 2019.

Khieu Samphan was taken into custody in 2007 and held there in a special facility.

Khieu Samphan was transported to Kandal Provincial Prison on January 30, 2023, according to a statement released by the prosecution on Wednesday.

Khieu Samphan’s incarceration circumstances are “suitable for someone of his advanced age, limited mobility, and state of health,” the judicial authorities said, adding that they have “taken steps to assure that.”

From Phnom Penh, the prison is about a 20-minute drive away.

Khieu Samphan appeared in court in September and sat bent in a wheelchair in the dock while paying close attention to the lengthy decision through headphones.

His genocide conviction pertains to the Khmer Rouge’s internal treasonous adversaries, the Vietnamese ethnic minority.

The Khmer Rouge, which killed over two million people between 1975 and 1979 through starvation, torture, forced labor, and mass executions, was brought to justice by a hybrid court that included both Cambodian and international judges.

The “Brother Number One” of the regime, Pol Pot, passed away in 1998 before the court was founded, thus he never had to face justice.

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