Two top Khmer Rouge leaders have been jailed for life after being convicted by Cambodia’s UN-backed tribunal of crimes against humanity. Nuon Chea served as Pol Pot’s deputy and Khieu Samphan was the Maoist regime’s head of state.
They are the first top-level leaders to be held accountable for its crimes.
Up to two million people are believed to have died under the Khmer Rouge – from starvation and overwork or executed as enemies of the state. The regime, in power from 1975-1979, sought to create an agrarian society.
Cities were emptied and their residents forced to work on rural co-operatives. Many were worked to death while others starved as the economy imploded.
During four violent years, the Khmer Rouge also killed all those it perceived as enemies – intellectuals, minorities, former officials – and their families.