Court Hears Horror Of Khmer Rouge Forced Marriages

Court hears horror of Khmer Rouge forced marriages

PHNOM PENH, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23th August, 2016) - Cambodia's UN-backed court on Tuesday heard harrowing new details about the Khmer Rouge's forced marriages, one of the brutal regime's less reported atrocities. The Khmer Rouge oversaw the deaths of up to two million Cambodians from 1975-1979 -- nearly one-quarter of the population -- in their quest for a Marxist agrarian utopia. But the testimony is the first time the court has heard about the tens of thousands of couples who were forced to marry, often in mass ceremonies, as part of a Khmer Rouge plan to boost the population. One woman described being raped by a Khmer Rouge commander after she was threatened with execution for refusing to consummate a forced marriage to her husband.

The regime's two most senior surviving leaders, "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, 90, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 85, are on trial. They have already been convicted of crimes against humanity, but a second trial is investigating their alleged complicity in the mass murder of Cambodia's ethnic minorities, forced marriages and mass rape -- subjects that remain taboo in conservative Cambodia even today.

Rights groups and historians say the second trial is a significant step for victims of Khmer Rouge sexual violence.