By Hannah Beech
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (New York Times) — Many of the foot soldiers for the Khmer Rouge remain in Cambodia’s remote reaches, each with a chronicle of the horror-soaked years in which Pol Pot and his Communist disciples turned the country into a deadly laboratory for agrarian totalitarianism.
Mea Chrun, a former bodyguard in the Khmer Rouge, lives in the jungle-choked hills of northern Cambodia, in Anlong Veng. He is matter-of-fact about the weight of the slaughter. “I think that one million people were killed,” he said. “Don’t say three million.”
On Friday, November 16, four decades after a total of at least 1.7 million people, a fifth of Cambodia’s population, were culled by execution, overwork, disease and famine, an international tribunal for the first time declared that the Khmer Rouge committed genocide against the Muslim Cham minority and Vietnamese.
The panel also issued guilty verdicts against the two most senior surviving members of the regime, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, now 92 and 87, respectively.
Nuon Chea was found guilty of genocide against both the Cham and Vietnamese, and Khieu Samphan against just the Vietnamese. The pair were found guilty of various crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. And they were sentenced to life imprisonment, the same sentence they had received in an earlier trial.