I welcome the judgment handed down by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) against Khieu Samphan, former head of state of Democratic Kampuchea, and Nuon Chea, former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. They are the most senior surviving former Khmer Rouge leaders and their trial represents one of the last opportunities to seek accountability for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge leaders.
Over 1.6 million Cambodians are believed to have died during the period of Khmer Rouge rule over Cambodia and its people.
Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea have both been sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed within the territory of Cambodia between 17 April 1975 and December 1977. The defendants have the right of appeal.
Australia has contributed to regional and international efforts to bring a lasting peace to Cambodia and to the initial establishment of the ECCC. Australia’s $26.22 million contribution since 2005 reflects our strong support for international criminal justice and human rights. As we look ahead to Case 002/02, I urge other countries to consider contributing to this important endeavour.
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