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Khmer Rouge leader dubbed ‘brother number two’ dies in hospital aged 93 – a year after he was jailed for life for genocide and crimes against humanity

Khmer Rouge leader dubbed ‘brother number two’ dies in hospital aged 93 – a year after he was jailed for life for genocide and crimes against humanity

  •  Nuon Chea died Sunday aged 93, a spokesman for the Cambodia tribunal said
  • The cause of death was not given. He died at Khmer Soviet Friendship hospital  
  • ‘Brother Number 1’ Pol Pot’s reign of terror left two million Cambodians dead 
  • Many from overwork, starvation and mass executions from 1975 to 1979
  • Nuon Chea, Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologue, was not arrested until 2007

Khmer Rouge ‘brother number two’ Nuon Chea died Sunday aged 93, a spokesman for the Cambodia tribunal where he was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity confirmed.

‘We can confirm that defendant Nuon Chea passed away this evening on 4 August 2019 at Khmer Soviet Friendship hospital (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)’ said Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the tribunal.

The cause of his death was not given.

'Brother Number 2' Nuon Chea, 92 - seen here in 2014 - was found guilty of genocide along with the Khmer Rouge's former head of state. He has died aged 94 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

*’Brother Number 2′ Nuon Chea, 92 – seen here in 2014 – was found guilty of genocide along with the Khmer Rouge’s former head of state. He has died aged 94 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

former Khmer Rouge Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea Nuon Chea in the courtroom at the ECCC in Phnom Penh

But Nuon Chea, considered the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologue, was not arrested until 2007.

He and other senior members of the ultra-Maoist group were put on trial at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea's wife Ly Kim Seng speaks to media while leaving a hospital where her husband died in Phnom Penh on August 4, 2019

The Khmer Rouge tribunal, found Chea guilty of genocide against the ethnic Vietnamese, the Cham Muslim minority group and former officials in the previous Khmer Republic government

Remains of the victims of the Pol Pot regime at Kampong Ta long Village at Kandal province.Approximately 1,700,000 people died under the regime of three years eight months

Skulls and bone fragments of victims of the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime at the Champuk Kaek pagoda in Kandal province, south of Phnom Penh in 1997

Khmer Rouge former head of state Khieu Samphan, 87 - pictured here in 2017 - and his co-defendant are the two most senior living members of the group

Around a quarter of the population of Cambodia died between 1975 to 1979 during the  Khmer Rouge's reign of terror

The UN-backed court sentenced him to life in prison last year after he was found guilty of genocide against the ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minority group.

He and the sole surviving defendant on trial, Khieu Samphan, were previously handed life sentences in 2014 over the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1975, when Khmer Rouge troops drove the population of the capital into the countryside.

The revolutionaries who tried to recreate Buddhist-majority Cambodia into an agrarian Marxist utopia attempted to abolish class while targeting religious groups and the educated.

Cambodian soldiers point to skeletons in 1991 of about 3,000 victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge during their 1975 to 78 reign

The hybrid court, which uses a mix of Cambodian and international law, was created with UN backing in 2006 to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

It has convicted only three people so far and cost more than $300 million.

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife died without facing justice, while Pol Pot passed away in 1998.

ESTIMATED 2 MILLION KILLED BY KHMER ROUGE IN FOUR-YEAR GENOCIDE

In 1975 the Khmer Rouge triumphed over the US-backed republican army of Lon Nol – sparking four years of a genocidal communist revolution.

Initially, the Khmer Rouge were given a cautious welcome by Phnom Penh’s war-weary residents as they entered the city astride tanks, their distinctive red-chequered scarves fluttering behind them.

But soon enough cadres began to evacuate the city of two million people at gunpoint, in one of the largest forced migrations in recent history.

The sick, elderly and very young perished, their bodies littering the roadsides, as ‘bourgeois’ city dwellers were marched into the countryside to scratch a living from the parched soil.

Graphic showing the extensive network of detention centres and "killing fields" established by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge in the 1970s

By the time the tyrannical rule of Pol Pot — or ‘Brother Number One’ — was ousted four years later, an estimated two million Cambodians had been killed by execution, starvation or overwork as the Khmer Rouge drove the country back to ‘Year Zero’ through an agrarian peasant revolution.

‘Forty years ago Pol Pot turned Cambodia into a hell — a ghost land,’ Huot Huorn, 67, told AFP with tears in her eyes after lighting incense for the 36 relatives she lost to the regime.

‘I still hate that regime… their sins are vivid in my eyes now. They starved us, jailed people with no food and water until they died… I saw them smash children’s heads against a tree trunk.’ 

Only after the regime was forced out by Vietnamese soldiers in 1979 did the scale of its atrocities emerge, with the bones of thousands of victims — including children — uncovered at mass graves across the country, including at Choeung Ek.

Many had first suffered at Phnom Penh’s notorious torture house — Tuol Sleng, or S21 — as perceived enemies of the revolution.

The former school-turned-torture-chamber has also been preserved as a grisly testament to the horrors of the era, which ended when the Khmer Rouge were forced to retreat to jungle hideouts.

In 2010, a UN-backed war crimes court sentenced former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, to 30 years in prison — later increased on appeal to life — for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.

He was the first person to be held accountable for the regime’s crimes. 

  • Culled from MAIL Online

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