Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Ideologue Cremated, Appeal May Be Stopped

The death of the Khmer Rouge’s top ideologue may end criminal proceedings against him even though his appeal against convictions for genocide and other crimes is still pending, a spokesman for Cambodia’s U.N.-assisted tribunal trying leaders of the defunct communist group said Friday.

Nuon Chea, the second-highest official after Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot when the group held power in the late 1970s, died Sunday at age 93. He was cremated Friday at a Buddhist temple in Pailin in northwestern Cambodia, which was a Khmer Rouge stronghold as it fought a guerrilla war after being ousted from power in 1979. Their movement collapsed entirely in 1998.

Spokesman Neth Pheaktra said under Cambodian law, judicial action is terminated on the death of the accused, and the tribunal’s Supreme Court chamber would rule on its application.

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