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Regime Victims Tell Tribunal of Organized Atrocities

Witnesses testified before the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday to demonstrate the regime had committed organized atrocities even before its rise to power in 1975.

Through an attorney, victims of the regime told the UN-backed court of crimes of torture and execution.

“At the end of 1973, seven months after my marriage, my husband was escorted away by a group of about 12 militants,” one woman said through her lawyer, Sam Sok Kong. “My husband was tied up and nailed to a cross. He was tortured on it, and he died a week later.”

Prosecution at the court this week has sought to show a systematic regime with a leadership structure and hierarchy who leaders on trial—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary—were guilty of joint criminal conduct.

This included forced marriages, separation of families, oppression of minorities and religious beliefs and imprisonment, torture, forced work, starvation and execution.

Civil party lawyers presented evidence that Khieu Samphan, prior to becoming head of state for the regime and before it rose to power, was involved in decision-making and bore responsibility for atrocity crimes.

At court on Wednesday afternoon, defense for Nuon Chea, the regime’s chief ideologue, again called for the disqualification of Trial Chamber judge Silvia Cartwright, rather than presenting evidence in the client’s defense.