[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Thursday restarted genocide hearings against the former Khmer Rouge regime's surviving leaders. Proceedings had been postponed since November, when defense lawyers refused to participate [JURIST reports] because they were still working to appeal an earlier verdict. Leaders of the 1970s regime Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, who were sentenced to life imprisonment [JURIST report] for crimes against humanity in August, are now on trial for separate charges of genocide against minorities, rape and forced marriages. Thursday's hearing ended early due to the poor health of Samphan and Chea.
The Khmer Rouge [JURIST archive] have been blamed for the deaths of nearly 2 million people between 1975 and 1979 during the reign of group leader Pol Pot [BBC profile]. The first case against the former leaders began in 2010, but the court did not hear closing arguments [JURIST report] until last year. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] last September that the refusal by the government of Cambodia to pay Cambodian staff at the ECCC was an attempt to undermine efforts to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice.