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Tribunal Defendants Created a ‘Slave State,’ Prosecutor Says

Former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, left, and Nuon Chea, right, look on during the funeral for Khieu Ponnary, the first wife of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, in 2003.
PHNOM PENH - Cambodian prosecutor Chea Leang gave her closing statements for a case at the UN-backed tribunal on Thursday, calling defendants Noun Chea and Khieu Samphan the creators of a “slave regime” that was responsible for the massacre of Cambodians.

The tribunal is hearing final arguments of a portion of the case against the two aging leaders, which examined their roles in the April 1975 evacuation of Phnom Penh. The broader case, No. 002, was broken into smaller parts to expedite some procedures.

Noun Chea, chief ideologue for the Khmer Rouge, and Khieu Samphan, its nominal head of state, are accused of a raft of atrocity crimes, including genocide.

“On 17 April, 1975, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and their accomplices created first a slave state in the modern era,” Chea Leang told the court Thursday. “They destroyed homes, divided family members and evicted millions of people to cooperatives.”

She accused them both of helping set up and implement plans for “crimes” that led to the deaths of between 1.7 million and 2.2 million people.