FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2013, file photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, left, former Khmer Rouge head of state, and Nuon Chea, right, who was the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, sit in the court hall at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The U.N.-assisted international tribunal in Cambodia judging former leaders of the Khmer Rouge for their roles in abuses that led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million of their countrymen will issue verdicts Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in the latest - and perhaps last - of such trials. Nuon Chea, 92, and Khieu Samphan, 87, are the last two surviving senior leaders of the radical communist group that brutally ruled Cambodia in the late 1970s. (Mark Peters/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia via AP, File)

Verdicts on Khmer Rouge leaders may be tribunal's last gasp

November 14, 2018 - 8:43 pm

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The U.N.-assisted international tribunal in Cambodia judging the criminal responsibility of former Khmer Rouge leaders for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people will issue verdicts Friday in perhaps the last such trial.

Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are the last two surviving senior leaders of the radical communist group that brutally ruled Cambodia in the late 1970s.

They are already serving life sentences for crimes against humanity connected with forced transfers and disappearances of masses of people.

The trials were split for fear the aged defendants might die before any verdict, erasing the opportunity for any sort of justice. The fear was justified — two co-defendants died before their trials ended.

On Friday, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will be judged on genocide and other charges.

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