Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s second-in-command in Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, died on August 4 aged 93. Following Pol Pot’s death in 1998, he was the most senior surviving member of the genocidal regime that ruled over what was then known as Democratic Kampuchea.
The Khmer Rouge was a violent communist group that held power in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. It aimed to turn the country into an agrarian utopia, declaring “Year Zero”, abolishing private property and driving millions from towns and cities before putting them to work on the land. An estimated 1.7m people died through starvation, disease, overwork and deliberate extermination.
In 2007, following years of negotiations between the Cambodian government and the United Nations, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was established. The Court was tasked with prosecuting “senior leaders” and “those most responsible” for crimes committed during the regime’s rule of Cambodia.