Last Living Khmer Rouge Leader Denies Genocide Charges

The only living former leader of the Khmer Rouge regime Khieu Samphan,90, denied genocide charges after appealing against the 2018 court ruling on Thursday.

“I categorically refuse the accusation that I had the intention to commit the crimes. I have never committed them,” Samphan said. 

Sampan’s defense team questioned the evidence against him and argued that the 2018 verdict should be reversed. 

Defense Attorney Anta Guissé said that the argument that Sampan “could not – not know” as a key member of former Cambodian leader Pol Pot’s inner circle was not enough to prove him guilty of the genocide charges. 

Prosecutor Brenda Hollis argued that as a senior leader of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), Samphan could object when he was at top planning meetings. 

“Instead he supported in the meetings, either by the silent ascent or active support, decisions relating to criminal policies and their implementation,” Hollis said.

Samphan and three other former leaders were tried by the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) for the mass killing of about 2 million Cambodians over 40 years ago, but the other three died before the completion of the judicial process.

Samphan was convicted in 2014 for crimes against humanity which included forced transfers of people and disappearances of masses. 

“No matter what you decide, I will die in prison,” Samphan said before the tribunal. 

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