Nuon Chea defends actions in Khmer Rouge genocide trial

Top Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea has defended his actions at a UN-backed court in Cambodia, on the second day of his genocide trial.

BBC News
22 November 2011

A prosecutor said he and his two co-defendants had “murdered, tortured and terrorised” their own people.

But Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s deputy, said he had worked to “serve the interests of the nation” by protecting it from colonialism and invaders.

The trial opened on Monday in Phnom Penh.

Nuon Chea, who was also known as Brother Number Two, is being tried alongside Khieu Samphan, the Maoist regime’s former head of state, and Ieng Sary, its former foreign minister.

Up to two million Cambodians died of starvation, overwork and execution during the four years of Khmer Rouge [“Red Cambodians”] rule.

The regime wanted to create an ideal communist society by forcing city residents to work as peasants in the countryside, and by purging intellectuals, middle class people and any supposed enemies of the state…

The article continues at BBC News.

Who were the Khmer Rouge?

  • Maoist regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975-1979
  • Led by Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot
  • Abolished religion, schools and currency in effort to create agrarian utopia
  • Up to two million people thought to have died of starvation, overwork or by execution
  • Defeated in Vietnamese invasion in 1979
  • Pol Pot fled and remained free until 1997 – he died a year later

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