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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia A United Nations assisted tribunal on Wednesday cleared the way to begin the genocide trial of two elderly former top leaders of Cambodia's 1970s Khmer Rouge regime.
Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal clears the way for genocide trial
The defendants, Khieu Samphan, 83, and Nuon Chea, 88, were in the top leadership of the 1975 79 regime, which is generally held responsible for the deaths of about 1.7 million people from starvation, exhaustion, disease and execution.
Among the scores of proposed witnesses, lawyers for Nuon Chea urged the court to consider calling three senior members of Cambodia's current government: National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Senate President Chea Sim and Sen. Ouk Bunchoeun.
Om Bopha, 59, a Khmer Rouge survivor who was a victim of forced marriage, said she attended the hearing hoping Air Max Mark Parker to see the judicial process in action. Instead, she said, "Once I arrived in the court and saw Khieu Samphan's face, it made me think me that the Khmer Rouge have not yet been Nike Air Max 180 Trainers
Survivors of the communist regime's reign of terror, along with students and Buddhist monks, attended Nike Air Yeezy Solar Red
The first trial began in November 2011 with four defendants, but Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary died in March 2013, and his wife, Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith, was deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia.
a hearing that laid down the ground rules for the trial, which judges said would likely start in September or October.
Khieu Samphan attended the hearing and appeared to be in good health, at times taking notes. Nuon Chea, however, remained in his holding cell because he is unable to sit for long periods of time.
Anta Guisse, a lawyer for Khieu Samphan, said she was concerned her client would not get a fair trial amid confusion over what evidence or findings from the first trial would be carried over into the upcoming one.
to hear the verdict next week of a first trial against them for war crimes and crimes against humanity, related mostly to the forced movement of millions of people to the countryside when the Khmer Rouge took power.
Legal experts and lawyers have argued that such an approach muddies the pursuit of justice.
At Wednesday's hearing, the chief judge, Nil Nonn, read out the new charges before lawyers began debating witness lists, reparations requests and procedural objections.
All three served as high ranking cadres before defecting from the Khmer Rouge and aiding in its overthrow. Long serving current Prime Minister Hun Sen also was a Khmer Rouge defector.
Because of the advanced age and poor health of the defendants, the case against them has been divided into separate trials, in hopes that they will live long enough to have some judgments against them completed.
Mil Poch, 55, who lost five siblings during those dark years, also attended. "I wanted the court to convict and sentence the two defendants to life in prison because they have killed so many people," he said.
Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan required occasional hospitalization, slowing the proceedings.
"It seemed like I am still living under their regime," Om Bopha said, choking back tears.
Previous efforts by the defence to have members of the government testify have stoked political tensions and been shot down.
Although Wednesday's hearing was purely procedural, it stirred unpleasant feelings for some.
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