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Thirty years after the fall of a dictatorship believed to have killed almost 2 million people, prosecutors with a special tribunal in Cambodia are preparing the first trial for one of the regime’s key leaders.
While the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s were enormous, with the prosecution of Kaing Khek Iev a measure of justice will begin returning to the former killing fields.
Robert Petit, with the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia, said Kaing will be tried for genocide and other crimes beginning in March. Known as Duch, he commanded the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh where at least 15,000 people are believed to have been tortured or killed in the regime’s campaign to totally remake Cambodian society.
Four other Khmer Rouge leaders also tied to crimes against humanity have also been detained and face trial after Kaing. The announcement came on Remembrance Day, the anniversary marking the regime’s removal in 1979.
The United States supports the efforts of Cambodia and the international community to bring to justice those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law under the Khmer Rouge regime.