Phnom Penh – The U.N.-assisted tribunal trying leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge on charges of genocide and other crimes affirmed Tuesday it will cease legal proceedings against Nuon Chea, the communist group’s No. 2 leader who died aged 93 on Aug. 4 while his conviction was under appeal.
A statement by the tribunal’s Supreme Court Chamber cited Cambodian law and international criminal tribunal precedent as the basis for its ruling. It also acknowledged a request by Nuon Chea’s defense team to clarify how ending the appeal due to Nuon Chea’s death affects “the trial judgment and underlying convictions” — whether it leaves his conviction standing, or nullifies it.
Nuon Chea, the chief ideologue for the Khmer Rouge, was convicted in two separate trials of crimes against humanity, genocide and other offenses committed when the Khmer Rouge held power in the late 1970s. About 1.7 million people died from starvation, disease, overwork and executions under its rule. He was tried along with Khieu Samphan, the regime’s former head of state, who like him received life sentences in both trials. Cambodia does not have capital punishment.