Prosecutors at Cambodia's Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], on Monday requested life imprisonment in the case [court materials] against two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The former leaders, Nuon Chea, also known as "Brother Number 2," and Khieu Samphan [case materials], the regime's head of state, are accused [AP report] of crimes against humanity, genocide and "grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949" [text], according to the 2010 indictment [text]. The Khmer Rouge regime lasted from 1975-1979 and resulted in the death of more than 2 million people. Last week the ECCC began hearing [JURIST report] closing arguments in the case .The UN-backed trial is scheduled to conclude by the end of October following closing arguments from defense lawyers. A verdict is expected in the beginning of 2014.
The ECCC, launched in 2006, has run into several controversies in its history. Last month the tribunal was forced to obtain a loan [JURIST report] to pay striking workers to cover unpaid salaries. The strike began [JURIST report] earlier that month. Also in September, the ECCC's international prosecutor announced his resignation [JURIST report] from the tribunal. In August approximately 100 tribunal staff members went on strike to protest the unpaid wages, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] urged [JURIST report] donors to provide financial support to keep the tribunal running. Tribunal employees reported to Human Rights Watch (HRW) [Advocacy website] that they are also bitter due to "government interference and corruption at the court" [JURIST op-ed], which has been a cause of concern since the trials began.