Cambodian co-prosecutor ask for life sentence for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan

International lead co-prosecutor Nicholas Kourjian delivered his closing statement in the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, touching on the genocide against the Vietnamese and Cham people, one of the charges against them, according to Phnom Penh Post Online report on Friday.

Kourjian began with the crimes carried out against the Vietnamese people in Cambodia, saying that the Khmer Rouge’s initial policy was simply about deporting them, but eventually was transformed into a policy of extermination both within Cambodia and abroad.

Chea and Samphan were both quoted as claiming that the Vietnamese were in fact engaged in genocide against Cambodians, a tactic Kourjian said is common in persuading a population to commit genocide of its own against the alleged enemies.

Kourjian said the strongest evidence that Cambodia’s ultimate goal was to destroy the Vietnamese people lies in statement from Pol Pot broadcast on the radio in 1978.

In the broadcast, Pol Pot estimated that each Cambodian soldier was capable of killing 30 Vietnamese and, therefore, Cambodia could wipe out the entire Vietnamese population with only two million soldiers.

The co-prosecutor also played clips of personal testimony recounting mass executions, including the murder of infants. He also recalled stories of atrocities committed in Vietnamese border towns by the Khmer Rouge.

As for the Cham people, he said their situation differed from that of the Vietnamese as the Cham minority were given the opportunity to survive by abandoning their customs. The Cham people were also forced to abandon their faith.

In a separate closing statement, national co-prosecutor Chea Leang asked for life in prison for the two defendants, Chea and Samphan.